Non-essential shops reopened on 15 June and most leisure attractions are due to reopen on 4 July, indicating a return to some resemblance of normality. There were long queues when high street favourites like Primark reopened, but have 12 weeks of lockdown changed the shopping habits of the British people?
New YouGov data suggests that after months of being unable to shop in person, people are now making up for lost time. BrandIndex Purchase Intent scores – which indicate whether a brand is someone’s first choice to buy from – show that since the reopening, there has been a change in behaviour, in that more Brits are choosing to shop exclusively offline.
A snap poll released in early June showed that six in 10 (61 per cent) Brits supported shops reopening and four in 10 (40 per cent) were comfortable visiting indoor shopping centres once they reopened. This proves that a significant amount of shoppers had no intention of staying away.
Meanwhile, Purchase Intent scores for longstanding high-street retailer Next show that the amount of those who would usually choose to do their clothes and shoe shopping entirely online at Next.co.uk have been decreasing since the start of June, dropping ten points from 18.3 to 8.2.
The opposite of this – shoppers who prefer to purchase their clothes and shoe shopping entirely in person and favour Next – has increased by ten points since 12 June from 9.5 to 19.9 clearly demonstrating the marked change in consumer behaviour.
Obviously this isn’t the first time change Covid-19 has had on consumer behaviour. At the start of lockdown, Next’s Purchase Intent scores among online shoppers soared over 10 points from 9.3 to 20.6 in response to the closing of shops. What we are seeing now, however, is consumer behaviour changing while there is more than one option available.
A similar story can be seen with similar high street staple M&S, whose Purchase Intent scores for online shoppers decreased 10 points (26.8 to 16.6) while simultaneously increasing 16 points for those who prefer to shop in person (18 to 34.5).
The conclusion? Lockdown has shown that consumer behaviour isn’t set in stone. Many will just adapt their habits to the shopping environment they find themselves in.
Given that almost half of Brits plan to spend the same as they did before lockdown once shops reopen (47 per cent), retailers can take some comfort in the knowledge that – despite everything – their appetite for shopping has not completely gone away.