The pandemic’s been an unprecedented moment in time. However, its impact will be enduring and most likely transform the way you shop indefinitely.
A recent report by Feefo reveals that 43% of consumers agree that once lockdown ends, they’ll carry out most of their brand shopping online, while just 25% of shoppers will do their shopping in-store.
A Huge Shift in Shopping Behaviour
So, what are the main factors powering this shift? It boils down to three factors:
- A decrease in people’s movements. The UK’s recent lockdowns have seen a restriction in people’s movements. What’s more, there’s also been an increase in the number of people moving from urban areas to more rural settings that don’t have as many high street shops. In 2021, London’s population could see a significant drop for the first time in 30 years. Moreover, many employees are now working remotely and this trend is likely to continue as more and more businesses are offering flexible working conditions. According to a recent BBC News report, 50 of the UK’s largest brands are saying they aren’t planning to bring employees back to the workplace full-time.
- A sharp increase in online sales. Recent findings by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that online shopping took off in 2020, increasing by as much as 46.1% since 2019. It’s likely to be a similar story when stats come in for 2021. The online shopping boom kicked off in the Noughties, thanks to formidable internet advancements and while the current lockdowns have likely fast-tracked the trend by driving senior generations online, the inevitable evolution of high-tech advancement has meant a progression in online shopping is inevitable.
- More brand disloyalty. Shoppers can now access a broader choice of services and products, thanks to the shift online. At the click of a button, consumers can shop around online and discover new brands on the web instead of in the aisles. Because there are fewer shops on the high street and more brands online, today’s consumers are showing less brand loyalty.
Design by Structure’s Co-Founder, John Galpin, says:
“Online has seen exponential growth, driven by the pandemic and lockdown, which has accelerated online purchasing behaviors. Those retailers who didn’t adapt quickly have suffered, even the big brands, such as Arcadia.
“However, with the imminent ease of lockdown, we should expect to see a return to the high street, initially for the novelty but then we will see the return of activity that combines on- and offline behaviors, such as the return of ‘webrooming’, ‘showrooming’ and ‘boomerooming’, which are about the physicality of brands and price comparison.
‘webrooming’ – researching online and then buying in-store.
‘showrooming’ – viewing in-store and then buying online.
‘Boomerooming’- researching online, touching and feeling in-store, and then buying online.
In the UK, nearly all adults aged between 16 and 44 are using the internet more due to Covid-19. Companies are listening to their consumers, making it easier than ever for them to shop online. That said, more choices can make decision-making trickier.
The amount of people aged 75 and above using the internet has increased from 29% in 2013 to 54% in 2020 – that’s almost double.
It would seem the pandemic has provoked a drastic shift in post-pandemic shopping trends, with more choosing to shop online rather than on the high street.
While it’s fair to assume shoppers will go back to brick-and-mortar shops once restrictions ease, it’s also reasonable to expect that consumers will spend less time in-store on the whole. These reduced in-store visits could even go on into 2022 as shoppers wait to see how post-pandemic life turns out.
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