The three lockdowns since Q1 2020 shifted the sales of ‘non-essential’ stores (e.g. clothes) to online, with deconfinement releasing the oxygen of pent-up demand to the high street, eroding online’s share
For vendors of ‘essential’ goods (e.g. food and drink), which stayed open, Work-From-Home (WFH) shifted a large portion of spend to in-home purchases, with both offline and online spend remaining elevated in Q2
The share of online in retail sales (excluding fuels) dropped from its peak of 34.7% in Q1 2021, when the UK was in its third lockdown, to 27.6% in Q2. This is still up 10 ppts from 18.7% in Q2 2019, evidence of a new post-pandemic normal, as mobility to retail and recreation destinations remains impaired
ITV’s H1 advertising revenues were up 29% YoY—and up 2% compared to 2019—to £866 million, with the Euros and an improving market ushering in the biggest June ever for the broadcaster. Studios revenues rose 26% (to £798 million), which was 5% better than 2019
ITV’s new deal with Sky provides clarity around the relationship between the two companies, with ITV soon able to dynamically serve ads on both downloaded content and linear channels (i.e. via Sky Adsmart) on Sky Q. By the end of 2022, the full ITV Hub app will be available on Sky Q
BritBox—which was not part of the Sky deal—has shown muted growth in the UK (adding 55k in H1 to 555k subscribers), while over the same period, international subscriptions lifted 18% (to 2 million)
Vodafone’s growth this quarter was a touch disappointing; the annualistion of the COVID hit was a clear boost but no evidence of any tailwinds. The 1.1% growth in the European markets should be the real focus for investors.
We see some evidence of positive initiatives from Vodafone such as its new EVO tariffs in the UK but it still has much to prove on operating momentum, especially in Germany.
There are signs that Vodafone is slow-pedalling in some markets and with demanding EBITDA targets and with leverage still finely balanced, we expect this focus on profitability to continue. The UK may be a special case.