UK online retail sales growth hit an all-time low of just +3.6% year-on-year in December, according to the Capgemini IMRG eRetail Sales Index.
“The first half of 2018 was actually very strong for online retailers – it resisted and arguably benefitted from the tough climate that impacted trade for store retail. It is only the second half of the year where the suppressed confidence and spend, evident in so many other sectors, has spread to online retail; the macro-economic situation must be exerting pressure here, particularly with Brexit now entering its crunch period in Q1 2019,” says Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director, IMRG.
If Brexit can be resolved, he adds, it may help to build shopper confidence again with online likely to be the main beneficiary from a retail perspective. “However, if 2019 proves to be a year of continuing uncertainty, with repeated delays and political instability causing market disruption, it may prove to be a tough year for many businesses to navigate – as we found out in late 2018, online is not immune from that.”