May Retail Sales Rise Again According to Latest ONS Figures

Adam Hancox, director of retail at TransUnion in the UK, comments on the recent ONS Retail Sales Index:

“The latest Retail Sales Index from the Office for National Statistics show a further rise of 0.3%, following an increase of 0.5% in April. This growth can be attributed, at least in part, to the favourable weather conditions we’ve been seeing. Interestingly, despite expectations among retailers for a drop in both volume and spend, such a decline has not materialised.

“However, the relative gap between retail values and volumes persists, meaning that consumers are spending more money to buy fewer goods than they were in previous years. This illustrates the inflationary pressures consumers are currently under, although the latest figures attest to their financial resilience. People are also potentially shopping around more and being open to changing their habits and brand loyalties, which is an interesting development in the evolving nature of consumer preferences.

“This could also be why today’s figures show online sales volumes rising for the second month running, now accounting for 26.5% of all retail sales. While this is down from the heights of the pandemic, it represents a long-term upwards trend towards the digitalisation of shopping. With this in mind, retailers need to maintain a friction-right customer journey, as well as robust fraud prevention measures – particularly as the rising cost of living appears to be playing a part in driving online shopping scams.”