August 28, 2020

Over half of shoppers think the retail experience is less relaxing than before

And three quarters of them will not go as frequently as pre-lockdown.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed some encouraging stats last week, as retail sales volumes rose by 3.6% between June and July and are now 3% higher than February before the lockdown.*

More specifically, sales in clothing shops grew by 11.9% last month while online shopping fell by 7%. Ruth Gregory, senior UK economist at Capital Economics, said it suggested that "the recovery in physical shops was more impressive than the headline figure and that shoppers are starting to return to the High Street".*

What do those returning shoppers think about the retail experience?

Well, over half (50.8%) of shoppers think that the retail experience is less relaxing now than pre-pandemic times (see graph 1), with 58.9% of them being women.

Graph 1

What can we learn about purchase intention?

Furthermore, a significant majority of three quarters (74%) of those who think it is less relaxing now intend to shop less frequently than pre-lockdown (see graph 2).

Interestingly, of those who think shopping is actually a more relaxing experience now post-lockdown, over half (54.6%) are aged in the 18-34 bracket.

Graph 2

Thoughts from our CEO, Adam Castleton:

“There is a clear correlation between how relaxing the shopping experience is and how frequently shoppers intend to visit. With just over half of shoppers saying they don’t find the experience as relaxing as before lockdown, there's an opportunity to make them feel more comfortable. Doing so will earn their loyalty and repeat custom. I think the best examples are retailers that have visible but discrete COVID safety measures, and those that have also given attention to the wider atmosphere, including light and sound to help put shoppers at ease.”

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%.

*BBC article: UK Retail sales climb back to pre-pandemic levels. 21st August 2020.

Over half of shoppers think the retail experience is less relaxing than before
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