Retailers blame Royal Mail strikes for Brits abandoning online shopping in the run up to Christmas
Thousands of Brits appear to have abandoned online purchases following a series of strikes by Royal Mail employees, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Figures released by the ONS show that the proportion of online sales slipped by 0.5 per cent to 25.4 per cent in December.
Retailers laid the blame on the fall on Royal Mail strikes, which saw hundreds of posties walk out in November between Black Friday and Cyber Monday as well as throughout most of December in a long-standing dispute over salaries and jobs.
Online retail remains above pre-Covid levels of 19.8 per cent, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) added.
Overall retail sales volumes fell one per cent in December as Britons did not consider Christmas a strong enough incentive to dip into their wallets.
According to ONS data, non-food sales went down by 2.1 per cent as customers continue to cut back on spending due to soaring costs and affordability concerns.
Food sales, on the other hand, went down 0.3 per cent on the previous month, as people stocked up early for their Christmas dinners.
Aled Patchett, head of retail and consumer goods at Lloyds Bank, said prices remain “uncomfortably high” for many despite inflation going down to 10.5 per cent in December.
“With food prices increasing well above the overall rate in 2022, the worry now is that consumers become more conscious spenders as we move into 2023, reducing non-essential purchases until confidence in personal finances improves,” Patchett said.