How To Do IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 Pie-charts

This is one very common type of visual data that you may be given. The video below gives a full explanation of how to apply our 6 step writing process for IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 to questions with pie-charts.

There is an example question and model answer for you to see how an answer looks if you follow our process correctly, located  underneath the video. The video shows you exactly what to write for each sentence in order to get a band 7+.

The two pie charts below show the online shopping sales for retail sectors in Canada in 2005 and 2010.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.


The two pie charts provided reveal the percentage of sales made online by the four main retail sectors in Canada in both 2005 and 2010.

During this time period the food and beverage industry experienced the highest level of online growth and video games market share also modestly increased. However, sales of home furnishings online suffered greatly and produced the largest drop in market share with sales of electronic appliances also experiencing a loss in their online market share.

Online sales in the food and beverage industry dramatically increased by 10% during the 5 year time period to 32% overtaking the previous market leader, sales of electronics and appliances. Sales of video games also grew but by only half as much at just 5%. However, their market share still did not reach 25% of the overall market falling 2% short of this mark.

Furthermore, sales of home furnishings plummeted by 10% to receive the lowest market share in 2010 and previous market leader sales of electronics and appliances  experienced a substantial decrease in market share of 10% leaving it with the second largest market share overall. (184 words)

Teaching Points: Notice how the second paragraph provides the overview that the question asks for. The sentence starts with 'Overall' to show the examiner that we are answering the question in the way they want. Secondly, note that this paragraph only talks about the key features/main points and does not provide any details at all, there are no numbers in an overview paragraph only an outline of the main features.

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