Online Orders Drop as Retail Reopens

Online retail orders dropped by 12% in the first week of non-essential stores reopening, according to the latest figures from eCommerce specialists, Salesfire.

The data, collected by Salesfire’s TrendDesk platform on Tuesday 6 April and Tuesday 13 April, suggests shoppers were excited to return to stores after three long months of closures, with fashion, footwear and health and beauty among the sectors seeing the biggest falls in online orders.

Other categories such as electronics and food and drink saw a significant rise in orders and revenue respectively, suggesting that the pandemic may have changed the way we shop for some items permanently.

Sector overview:

  • Fashion orders -12.2%
  • Footwear orders -9%
  • Health and beauty revenue -18.8%
  • Sports orders -8.8%
  • Food and drink revenue +8.1%
  • Electronics orders +8.4%

Explaining the figures, Rich Himsworth, CEO of Salesfire, said: “People have clearly been very excited to return to stores after a lengthy closure and this data supports the images we have seen this week of long queues outside shops in towns and cities across the country.

“A fall in online orders for fashion and footwear was expected, as people return to stores to see, touch and try out clothes in person and retailers have been working hard with campaigns to generate excitement at returning to the high street.

“Brands which place a focus on their brick-and-mortar stores such as Primark and TK Maxx hold an edge because their experience requires an in-person visit. Brands such as Charlotte Tilbury and Boots’ No.7 have introduced live chat services, one-to-one virtual consultations and an online makeup try-on service to replicate the trying-on experience that so many people had missed during lockdown, but can anything beat the physical experience for health and beauty?”

Rich added that some changes to the way we shop could be permanent. He said:

“The convenience of online shopping will continue and may outweigh the experiential aspect for many, particularly for everyday items that don’t need to be seen in person such as electronics. The volume of delivery choices from Same Day to Next Day delivery means customers can get products quickly whilst still avoiding crowds and staying in the comfort of their own home.

“It will be interesting to see whether these trends are a reflection of consumers’ frustrations with lockdown and excitement to get out now that restrictions have eased, or whether the ongoing shift to eCommerce continues in the future. The pandemic has clearly forced more retailers to prioritise their online offering and ensuring that they provide customers with a quick and easy shopping experience will be vital in the long-term.”

Salesfire collects data from 3,000 online retailers, across a range of sectors including health and beauty, fashion and electronics.

To find out more about Salesfire, visit

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