Last month, when lockdown restrictions began relaxing across the UK, we were all excited to finally walk back into our favourite stores. Across the country, shoppers went as far as queuing for hours in the cold outside popular high street shops. But as life slowly gets back to some form of normality, will people still be as eager to do most of their shopping in physical stores? This is what we asked in our latest Shopping Pulse report which we’ll be running every quarter across the globe.
Despite flocking to bricks-and-mortar shops after a very restrictive year in the UK, six in ten (62%)* expect to do most of their shopping online in a year’s time. If they had to make a decision between digital or physical for all of their shopping, over half (57%)* would choose online stores. This was particularly true for certain types of products such as electronics, entertainment and – yes, you got it – erotic materials and toys. However, when it comes to pharmaceutical and automotive products, in-store was the preferred way to shop.
But how does the UK compare to the rest of the world? We were, alongside the Dutch, the most affected by lockdown, with around 80% cutting down how much they shopped in physical stores due to restrictions. And, when it comes to who shops online most across the globe, the UK ranks higher than any other country in the study – including the US. Nearly two in five (37%) in the UK shop online once a week or more. The UK also has the lowest rate of people who expect to do most of their grocery shopping in physical stores a year from now.
Our report shows that trends that formed – and accelerated – during the pandemic are here to stay. While the in-store experience will of course play a vital role for consumers, people will continue to crave flexibility in different aspects of their lives. Curious to know more? Check out our latest Shopping Pulse report in full, and watch this space for the next quarterly update!