Shoppers split on how relaxing they find the post lockdown retail experience

Posted:

September 25, 2020

Author:

Mel Frazer-Reid

Half (49.9%) think it is just as relaxing now compared to pre-lockdown.

Retail sales in the UK rose for the fourth consecutive month, with August volume of goods sold in stores and online 4% higher than pre-lockdown in February, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows*.

The recent tightening of measures by the government may make things tougher in the autumn, but for now shoppers in the UK are enjoying a retail experience that many find just as relaxing/if not more so, compared to pre-lockdown.

Startle’s research reveals that 49.9% think the retail experience is just as relaxing/more relaxing post-lockdown compared to pre-lockdown, with 50.1% disagreeing it is more relaxing now.

Furthermore, 63.1% of those who think it is just as relaxing now identify as regular shoppers (prior to lockdown). See graph 1.

Graph 1

However, half of those who think it is just as relaxing or more so now (50.3%) intend to shop less frequently than before lockdown, see graph 2.

While nearly two thirds of those who strongly disagree it is more relaxing now are female (62.6%).

What can be done to improve the in-store retail experience? One suggestion is tailoring the music played in-store, as the tempo, genre and volume can directly influence a consumer’s sensory perception and buying behaviour. For example, a study by Milliman concluded that playing slower tempo music can result in higher daily profits as consumers spend more time browsing**.

Graph 2

Thoughts from our CEO, Adam Castleton:

"It's clear that consumer behaviours have changed, and with tighter restrictions coming our way over winter it's unlikely we'll be back to how things were before lockdown anytime soon. With consumers indicating that they'll be visiting non-essential retail stores less frequently than before, the opportunity for retailers is to make the most of these visits, create memorable customer experiences and build as much brand affinity as possible."

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

*Financial Times article: UK Retail sales rise for fourth consecutive month. 18th September 2020.

**Milliman, The Influence of Background Music on the Behavior of Restaurant Patrons, 1986.

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