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Online spending rises despite Q2 GDP contraction

Online spending rose during June despite figures showing that retail experienced a huge contraction in the second quarter of the year.

A survey of 500 shoppers commissioned by Royal Mail revealed that the average amount spent online had risen from £216 to £226 between May and June.

There had been significant rises in specific sectors, with 44% buying food and drink online in June 2020 compared to 28% on average over a three-month period in 2019.

It found that 33% of respondents had seen a decline in their income, meaning more were keen to receive free delivery options.

The Royal Mail figures come as the ONS reported that retail and wholesale output fell by 22.5% in the second quarter of 2020 from April and June from the same time last year.

Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said: “COVID-19 and lockdown have driven major changes in consumer habits, including the way we shop. As lockdown begins to ease our research shows that online spend is still increasing but the mix of items bought continues to change as we all adjust to the new normal.

“Online ordering and home delivery of clothing, makeup, food and drink look set to stay as the one off or more occasional DIY and gardening purchases move back towards normal levels. As people continue to shop more online, at Royal Mail we continue to deliver the trusted and quality service they expect.

“Royal Mail has played a key role in keeping the UK economy going during the COVID-19 crisis. The research highlights that our postmen and postwomen are trusted to deliver more than anyone else, especially in these challenging times.”