Online retail sales were up 53% year-on-year in September, according to latest ONS figures, providing more evidence that we’re heading towards a ‘digital Christmas’.

Overall spending in retail increased by 3.4%, but this was dwarfed by online purchases. According to ParcelHero, leading the online charge were department stores’ online sales, with September being the month pre-orders opened for the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X and helping sales soar by 88%.

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David Jinks, ParcelHero head of consumer research, said the initial ripples of the second Covid wave during September failed to slow retail’s fightback, although local lockdowns in October might well see a marked decrease in High Street footfall: “These figures are a boost to High Street stores as shoppers prepare to decide how they will shop this Christmas,” he said.

“Even so, despite a slight fall of -1.2% against last month, online’s 53% growth points the way.

“Not every month will see pre-ordering open for two major new games consoles, but it does point the way to a digital Christmas this year.”