New data shows that despite non-essential retail reopening, Brits are still spending online, as the e-commerce lockdown boom shows no sign of subsiding.
DS Smith has revealed that orders for its e-commerce offerings went up a 35.6% in the period between January to May 2021, compared to the same period 12 months earlier. This demonstrates that the online shopping trend shows no sign of abating; in fact, when UK bricks and mortar opened up again in April 2021, e-commerce saw an 11.7% increase compared to the same month in the previous year.
The company said that pharmaceutical orders saw exponential increase in e-commerce demand as the virus ramped up globally, reporting a 242.2% increase in the period. The drinks sector saw an increase in orders by 25.3%.
There are positive signs for other sectors served by DS Smith too; the automotive industry, for which orders drastically reduced as the first lockdown hit (a 28% decrease across the months January 2020 to May 2020 compared the previous year), grew by 43.58% in the same period. And, retailers, of which there was a 67.4% e-commerce increase in February 2021 compared to the same month the previous year, still saw a 29.8% increase in e-commerce orders in the period, despite bricks and mortar stores opening up. Additionally, as more and more people stayed at home, it seems they were indulging in pampering and continue to do so, with orders to the health and personal care sector growing by 24%. In food, there’s further positive signs: even as people return to restaurants, e-commerce food deliveries such as meal kits, have seen a 45% increase in the period, suggesting we’re not giving up cooking at home just yet.
Chris Murray, Managing Director, UK Packaging, DS Smith, said, “It’s been a tough year for retailers so it’s been gratifying to see that the rise of e-commerce has kept businesses thriving. What is clear is that even though bricks and mortars have reopened, online shopping is going to become a greater part of our lives. For many retailers, that means adopting a hybrid model and with the eco-conscious consumer remaining ever more prevalent, it will be those companies that implement sustainable packaging alongside the transformation of their business models that will ultimately succeed. Whether creating bespoke solutions for the online shopping giants or through our ePack store for small businesses, we can help businesses through that change.”