14th May 2020

Retail Moving Forward: Will our shopping habits change forever?

Retail Moving Forward: Will our shopping habits change forever?

During the coronavirus pandemic there has been a forced change to everything in our lives, including how we shop. But recent research by PwC indicates that consumers aren’t giving up on retail. Their April research indicated that consumer confidence “is still higher than during the recession of 2008-09”, which PwC believes provides us with “some hope for a rebound in consumer spending once lockdown measures are lifted.”


So how have our shopping habits changed so far?


PwC research indicates that a major change has been who we are spending our money with. During this time one in five consumers have reported to be buying more from smaller local companies, as well as taking the time to consider which retailers are showing compassion for their staff.


It is not just who we are shopping with that has changed but also where. PwC claim “almost one in six respondents say they have bought more from local high streets” during the lockdown period. The limitations on movement placed on the UK population, although tough for many to deal with, have perhaps provided a great opportunity for local high streets and shopping spaces to showcase the great variety of shops and produce available.


This discovery of what lies close to our doorsteps is sure to have a profoundly positive impact on how we as consumers view our local retail environments, and may have a long-term positive impact once lockdown begins to lift. The figures from the PwC research, shows how consumers expect to shop after lockdown. 


To see the graph click here!


It appears, once lockdown is lifted, we can prepare for consumers making a conscious decision to shop more local than we have seen before in a long time. For a quarter of consumer respondents to make this decision now, should provide some food for thought for local retail centres in how to continue to attract a wider local population after lockdown!


Also “more than a fifth of consumers (22%) say they intend to spend more on local high streets” which PwC believes could lead to a revival in local high streets in the not too distant future. Realising the quality and importance of our local and independent retail and leisure businesses cannot be a bad thing in our view too!


So, once we begin to come out on the right side of this awful pandemic, we can be confident that there is a huge opportunity on the horizon for local retail environments to be part of a wider revolutionary change - something many may underestimate given that a lot of current shopping is being carried out online!


We see this potential outlook as an exciting prospect, and one which we look forward to the exciting conversations to come.


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All data and information from the PwC April Consumer research found here: https://www.pwc.co.uk/press-room/press-releases/uk-consumers-show-resilience-as-sentiment-begins-to-recover-from-the-low-in-late-march-despite-the-continuing-impact-of-covid-19.html