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Shopper confidence is beginning to show regional differences as localised lockdowns affect different areas across the country, according to the latest IGD Shopper Confidence Index.
Overall confidence remains relatively low at -8 for July, but distinct differences have emerged between demographic groups. For example, shopper confidence has decreased significantly in the North of England, where local lockdowns in areas such as Greater Manchester have put restrictions back into place for residents. In the North, confidence dropped from -3 in June to -9 in July.
In contrast, confidence has increased in Scotland – at least for now. Simon Wainwright, Director of Global Insight at IGD, said: “As local lockdowns are enforced across the country we will likely see more of a split in confidence between regions as the impacts of Covid-19 become more localised. While July’s data shows an increase in confidence among Scottish shoppers, we anticipate a different picture for August following the news of Aberdeen’s lockdown.”
Disparities have also emerged between younger and older shoppers. Those aged 18 to 24 were more confident in July, with a score of +3, the highest level since August 2019, but those aged 65+ were less confident. Older shoppers are more fearful of food price inflation (+3% compared with June) and feel they will be worse off financially in the year ahead (+7%). Meanwhile, 41% of younger shoppers expect to be better off in the year ahead, up from 22% in June.
“It is likely that younger shoppers have been particularly boosted by the generally warm weather and the relaxation of some lockdown measures including the reopening of non-essential retail and the hospitality sector,” said Simon. “Job security was also boosted by the extension of the job retention scheme until October 2020 and the support for the foodservice sector.”
IGD’s shopper confidence index is calculated from four key measures: household finances, food prices, focus on quality vs. saving money and trust in industry. While the figure is currently low, it’s considered it to be generally stable. Over the coming months, as shoppers continue to content with the impact of a deep economic downturn in 2020, “we predict that shopper confidence is likely to remain fragile,” Simon says.
Moving forward, food retailers should continue to prioritise customer and staff safety as well as hygiene to boost consumer confidence while remaining prepared for the possibility of localised lockdowns in their areas.
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