7 characteristics of the 2021 shopper

11 May 2021, 08:54 AM
  • Discover the latest consumer traits to ensure your food and drink offering is up to scratch
7 characteristics of the 2021 shopper

Covid-19 shook up consumer behaviours and shifted priorities among shoppers. We’ve detailed seven key qualities of the modern customer that will help retailers succeed through the remainder of this year and beyond.

1. They’re optimistic despite Covid

There’s no doubt that the last year of Covid-19 has resulted in unemployment and stretched finances for many. The latest unemployment data put the number of jobs lost since the onset of the pandemic at 813,000. However, recent research from Kantar revealed that six in 10 Britons now say their personal income is not affected by the pandemic.

The research, which was conducted in April, also found that the proportion of people who think the economy will be worse in a year has fallen to 22%, around the same levels seen in 2015. In April, IGD’s measure of shopper confidence also rose to its highest level in nearly five years as the easing of lockdown restrictions and the vaccine programme boosted the nation’s mood. For fine food retailers, this could be good news as more shoppers may be willing to stick with the food and drink upgrades they made during lockdown in the ‘new normal’.

2. They’re working from home

As the pandemic continues, many are still working from home. Even as more consumers return to their normal workplace, experts expect flexible working to be a legacy of Covid-19. One survey of 2,000 UK companies by CIPD found two-thirds of workplaces were developing a hybrid model so that workers would only spend part of their time in the office.

This means retailers can expect to see the desire for restaurant-quality food at home sticking around. As Euromonitor explains in its Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2021 report, more working from home means more affordable premiumisation in food and drink choices. For more tips on how to cater your offering to home workers, click here.

3. They’re (still) shopping online

Thought online shopping would be a flash in the pan after lockdown restrictions were eased? Experts believe that although many consumers will want to return to the shops, a number of Brits will still be keen to order food and drink online.

Research from Barclaycard found that almost six in 10 Brits would continue to buy at least some of their groceries online even after all Covid-19 restrictions end. What’s more, click and collect proved to be hugely popular with consumers. Of those who have been using click and collect more often during the pandemic, a whopping 90% plan to continue post-Covid. For indies, this means continuing to bulk up online offerings will be key to allowing customers flexibility to choose the shopping method that suits them.

4. They care about the planet

There are a number of ways in which fine food independents can boost their shop’s sustainability message – from leading the charge in sustainable packaging to flying the eco flag on social media. With more consumers shopping according to their values, it’s never been more important to shout about the work your shop is doing, whether that’s supporting a cause or stocking local products with low travel miles.

Want to learn how to attract and retain more ethical shoppers? Click here.

5. They’re cashless

Covid, Euromonitor says, was a catalyst for sanitation concerns that have driven society towards cashless payments. Contactless limits were increased to £45, and then again to £100 to support consumers and merchants during the pandemic. Indies will need to keep up with this fast-evolving payments landscape in order to ensure customer transactions can be performed quickly and smoothly.

6. They’re happy to go al fresco

Although indoor dining is set to resume from 17th May, outdoor activities and events will continue to be encouraged. “Consumers still desire socialisation and human connection despite health hazards associated with large gatherings,” Euromonitor explains. So if you created a temporary outdoor dining experience in place of your café or restaurant, consider if it would be worth keeping around in the longer term – or at least while the warmer weather remains. Stores can also consider boosting their food to go range, as more shoppers will be keen to pick up a snack to enjoy while socialising with friends or family outdoors.

7. They’re spending more on food

Fresh research from Piper Sandler found that food was Generation Z’s top spending priority this spring. The survey, conducted between February and March, found almost a quarter of the spending of Gen Z shoppers in the US was on food.

It’s not only a trend among young Americans, however – Brits spent £15.2bn more on groceries during the pandemic, or around £4,800 per household on average. While this figure is expected to dip as lockdown restrictions end, retailers have a chance to convince consumers why it’s worth trading up for quality food and drink.

Keeping these qualities in mind will help retailers tailor their products to consumers’ latest needs and desires – in turn, boosting their own profits.

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