Adobe (credit image/Pexels/Liza Summer)New data from Adobe, facilitated by Adobe Analytics, reveals that UK online spending reached £8.5 billion in March 2024. This represents a 3.7% increase on the £8.2 billion spent in March 2023. This follows YoY growth of 5% in February and 1.5% in January. Adobe suggests this indicates consumer confidence and online spending power returning in the first quarter of 2024.

British consumers used Buy Now Pay Later services to finance £1.35 billion worth of online purchases in March 2024. This was up 8% year over year and represented 15.9% of total online spending for the month. The total spent using Buy Now Pay Later services reached £3.95bn in the first quarter of 2024, up from £3.62bn in Q1 of 2023.

Good Friday spending rose 8% to £249.3 million this year as consumers across the country took advantage of deals for the bank holiday weekend. The data also revealed a 2.2% increase in online grocery prices compared with March 2023, a 0.7% increase on figures from February 2024.

(Credit image/LinkedIn/Vivek Pandya)
Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Digital Insights at Adobe

Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights at Adobe commented, “It’s been a good start to the year for online retail with three straight months of year-on-year growth. Retailers will be hopeful that the cuts to national insurance, energy price caps and increases to universal credit and child benefit will further bolster consumer confidence and take spending power to new heights in the coming months.

Adobe Analytics data reveals:

  • UK retailers benefited from Mother’s Day, an early Easter, and the additional weekend in March. Online spending hit £8.5 billion, a 3.7% YoY increase on March 2023.
  • Overall, Q1 saw positive progress for consumer spending. February (up 5%) and January (up 1.5%) also showed YoY increases in online spending.
  • Consumers continue to spread the cost of purchases with BNPL services, with £1.35 billion spent via BNPL in March. 8% more than the £1.25bn spent during the same month in 2023
  • 15.9% of all online purchases in March were financed via BNPL, the highest proportion of overall spend since October 2023

Easter and bank holiday boosts spend

  • Online spend this Good Friday reached £249.3 million, an increase of 8% on Good Friday last year (April 7th). UK Consumers shopped for the best deals across the four-day weekend.
  • The total spend for the Easter weekend was £411.5 million, down 6% from the same period last year.

Mother’s Day spending

  • Flowers, chocolates and hampers all saw upticks in sales in the run-up to Mother’s Day. This mix of Mother’s Day products saw an 11% boost compared to March 2023. Some jewellery subcategories also saw an uptick during this period, with necklaces and pendants up 23.8%, and rings up 16.3%. Bracelets were also up 16.2% compared to March 2023
  • In March, overall online sales growth was up 6.2% YoY in the first period of the month (March 1-March 10), thanks to shoppers purchasing Mother’s Day items. The earlier date for Mother’s Day this year (10 March compared with 19 March in 2023) helped kickstart spending for the month.

The Adobe Digital Insights team used Adobe Analytics to analyse hundreds of millions of retail site visits from UK consumers in March. They tracked 100 million stock-keeping units (SKUs) across 18 product categories to provide the most comprehensive view of the UK digital economy. Adobe Analytics is part of Adobe Experience Cloud, which retailers rely upon to deliver, measure, and personalise shopping experiences online.

Enterprise Times: What this means for businesses

Adobe suggests its March data is good news for retailers who hope to reap the benefits of government macro-economic policy. The increases to universal credit and child benefit, cuts to National Insurance and lower caps on energy prices is expected to boost consumer finances.

However, Adobe’s data may be a continuation of the trend of digital channels taking a larger slice of the consumer spending pie. Unfortunately, Adobe’s data only provides a partial view of UK consumer spending habits. The digital trend is definitely upwards and onwards. All the major analysts expect digital shopping to take a larger share of all consumer spending. Consequently, tools and applications that provide consumers with a personalised and intuitive experience will thrive in this new retail reality.





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