Covid-19 does not spell the end of bricks and mortar

13 August 2020, 09:17 AM
  • While online shopping has gained traction during the pandemic, researchers say we won’t see a permanent shift away from in-store shopping
Covid-19 does not spell the end of bricks and mortar

Covid-19 caused a significant uptick in online shopping during the pandemic as consumers sought safer ways to buy necessities, but after the coronavirus crisis, UK brands will see only a modest increase in online shopping, according to new research.

Market research firm Boobook interviewed 4,500 people in nine global markets, and found that the pandemic will not cause a big permanent shift to online shopping. Consumers in the UK only plan to increase the number of products bought online by 5% post-Covid.

However, the research showed that other shopping behaviours could change significantly. For instance, consumers’ key drivers when making a purchase have been altered by the pandemic, with many placing more importance on health and safety as well as a brand’s ethics. Respondents said they’d be willing to pay 11.5% more per product for a safe and healthy shopping environment, and 7% more for an ethical store or brand.

Price also remains a key driver, especially as 45% of people in the UK have experienced a pay cut due to Covid-19, and 38% said they have saved less or no money during the pandemic. Of these, two-thirds plan to go out less, even after it’s safe to do so. More than half will look for cheaper shops, while 51% will also switch from high quality to less expensive options.

Even those who have increased their savings during the pandemic are going to be more cautious about their spending in the coming months. A third said they will spend less on non-essential products

Nicole Huyghe, founder and CEO at Boobook said: “The Covid-19 crisis has naturally had a huge impact on many people’s finances and shopping behaviours.”

But although some of these challenges will have a long-term impact, there are clear opportunities for retailers. The key to making the best of the Covid situation, according to Nicole, is ensuring your shop and products are aligned with what consumers will be looking for in the months to come: a safer shopping environment, an ethical brand to get behind, and a lower price point.



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