Retail trade volume in Europe went up by 17.8% in May 2020 compared to April in 2020, according to statistics from the European data website Eurostat. In a press release made available on 6 July, Eurostat said that the increase in retail trade followed the easing of COVID-19 containment measures in the euro area while the volume increased by 16.4% in the EU.
In April when the containment measures were in place, Eurostat estimated a decline of 12.1% in the euro area and 11.4% in the EU. May 2019 did better than 2020 though, as there was an overall decrease in the calendar-adjusted retail sales index by 5.1% in the euro area and by 4.2% in the EU, probably driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A general increase in retail sectors by member states
The month of May generally performed better than April regardless of sector. The volume of retail trade increased by 38.4% for automotive fuels in the euro area. This was the highest sector, followed by non-food products (34.5%) while food, drinks and tobacco went up just 2.2%.
The increase was slightly lower in the EU with automotive fuels going up 31.9%, non-food products 30.2% and food, drinks and tobacco reaching 2.1%. Textiles, clothing and footwear rose by 147.0% in the euro area and by 130.7% in the EU.
Among member states for which data was available, Luxemburg recorded the highest increase of +28.6% followed by France (+25.6%) and Austria (+23.3%) while Bulgaria had an unchanged monthly retail trade volume during this time.
YOY decrease by retail sector and member states
A comparison of May 2019 and 2020 shows a decrease across board except for food, drinks and tobacco which increased despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Retail trade volume decreased by 27.4% for automotive fuels and by 9.0% for non-food products while food, drinks and tobacco increased by 4.9% in the euro area.
In the EU, volume decreased by 24.3% for automotive fuels and by 6.9% for non-food products while food, drinks and tobacco increased by 4.1%.
The largest decreases were recorded in Bulgaria (-20.4%), Luxembourg (-19.7%) and Spain (-17.9%) while the largest increases (for food, drinks and tobacco) were recorded in Germany (+7.2%), Denmark (+6.6%) and Austria (+4.8%).
The Euro area generally had a bigger increase between may and April as well as 2019 and 2020, but also recorded bigger decrease than the EU.