August 17, 2020

Nearly two thirds of shoppers think the experience is less sociable than before

And only one fifth of them miss the buzz and sound of the crowd in-store.

It been a mix of both positive and negative news and indicators for retail in the last week. On the one hand, Dr Martens are re-paying the furlough cash after some strong sales*, yet on the other Debenhams revealed they will be cutting 2500 jobs.

What are people thinking of the current shopping experience?

Nearly two thirds of them feel shopping is less sociable than before, a view that is consistent across July (59.8%) and August (58.6%), see graph 1.

But it is not the buzz and sound of the crowd they are missing, as only one fifth of them believe the atmosphere would be better with the sound of people (19.9%).

Graph 1

Who wants to experience the buzz of the crowd?

More tellingly, nearly three quarters (72.8%) of people who think shopping is less sociable than pre-lockdown do not agree that the sound/buzz of the crowd would improve it (see graph 2).

So, what is the answer to improving the retail experience? Well, it could lie in our findings from last week, regarding music in-store.

Graph 2

Thoughts from our CEO, Adam Castleton:

"While shoppers are generally finding the retail experience less sociable, it's the not buzz of the crowds that they're missing - in fact, it seems they're enjoying the stores being less busy. We're seeing more lone shopping, and shopping for necessity rather than a social occasion with friends. In the short term, this is fine, but we can't let customers forget their old habits. That's why creating an enjoyable atmosphere now is so important."

This hub is going to be the place to be for consumer research in retail and hospitality, so make sure to bookmark it, follow us on social, write it on a post-it note or whatever it is that you do. You could also sign up and subscribe to our mailing list, which is easy like Sunday morning.

Surveys carried out July and August 2020. Sample sizes (n) >1000 people, UK Nat. Rep. with 95% confidence level & margin of error of +/- 5%.

*The Guardian article: 'Dr Martens repays UK furlough cash after strong lockdown sales'. 12th August 2020

Nearly two thirds of shoppers think the experience is less sociable than before
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