Happy New Year to everyone and a warm welcome to 2021, after a ‘somewhat challenging’ 2020. In this post we analyse December’s marketplace and web store GMV across the Volo Origin platform, analysed by the Vision platform, and use it as a commentary guide to the larger UK ecommerce picture. Volo customers sell across all the major retail categories on web store platforms and across around 80% of marketplace GMV, so we can consider them a pretty good bellwether for UK ecommerce activity as a whole.
Here are the figures week-by-week for December 2020. In our monthly analysis we take a 3-figure ‘same set’ group of established customers to measure their year-on-year growth as a reflection of their organic growth, rather than our own growth which would otherwise include the acquisition of new customers. At the risk of sounding redundant, the week of the 30th November includes the last day of the month before, while we’ve included the week of Monday 28th December as the majority of the days that week fall into 2020.
As you can see, December’s weekly figures – when physical retail was open – show a tailing off from the very active ecommerce November period when the UK was once more under considerable societal restrictions. You would expect the Christmas week to dip considerably from the week before, as orders placed this week would not be arriving at their destination before the big day. As the variant strain of coronavirus became established, the UK government was forced to back-track on its plans for a more open Christmas and New Year break. This, coupled with the usual bounce from sales starting on Boxing Day, contributed to the pick-up in online sales during the last week of the year.
While November ecommerce was around 25% up on the year before, December added to the upturn following the Q3 plateau and was on average around 34% up on the same weeks in 2019. Performance was particularly strong in the last three weeks of 2020.
It’s worth repeating a section from November’s analysis where we predicted a “‘slow and steady’ return to relative normality for physical retail. Heading into 2021, and a probable third spike in coronavirus after the Christmas and New Year get togethers, ecommerce activity for the traditionally quieter months of January and February is highly likely to buck the annual trend.’ This third spike shows every sign of being more severe due to the more transmittable mutant strain, and with another national lockdown announced very recently it’s safe to conclude that ecommerce activity in the the first two months of the year will be very strong.
In our next post we will look at what happened in ecommerce marketplace activity for the second half of 2020, and for the year as a whole.
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