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21 Aug 2020

Customer behaviour and Covid-19: how the lockdown has changed shopping habits

With lockdown easing and a new normal setting in, UK retail is taking its first steps towards recovery post the initial Covid-19 shock. But we’re not quite back to business as usual just yet, and customers aren’t either. With consumer behaviour shifting throughout this period, we’ve taken a look into the new customer trends coming out of Covid-19.

More customers are shopping online

The shift to online shopping has been unavoidable during the lockdown, as physical stores shut up shop from March onwards. In a global survey conducted by Brandwatch, 20% said they’d bought things like groceries, toiletries, beauty products and clothes online during the lockdown, when they wouldn’t normally do so. The same survey found that the majority of these customers would do so again, notably, when it comes to clothing and furniture in particular.

Longer term purchasing has changed

For the purposes of this article, when we talk about long term purchases, we mean cars, holidays and home improvement. The first two industries have taken quite a hit during the lockdown, with uncertainty putting a hold on plans to purchase a new vehicle or a holiday. However, online searches for DIY and home improvement has soared during the lockdown, with many people finding themselves at home more, and often, working less. In fact, according to Brandwatch, 60% of those planning to either buy new furniture, carry out large scale home improvements or buy a new property in 2020 still plan to do so.

Support for local businesses is a priority

In the UK, support for local businesses has shot up; according to a study by Deloitte, 59% of British shoppers used local convenience stores rather than larger national shops during the lockdown period. What’s more, Deloitte also found that 26% of consumers also plan to shop locally more post-lockdown than they did before the crisis, with local assortment, security in store and supporting their communities being given as the top reasons.

Customers' priorities are changing

The coronavirus crisis has also seen a slight shift in what consumers value, from both a practical and a moral standpoint. From a moral point of view, the focus on locally sourced products has jumped post lockdown, with 33% of Brandwatch’s respondents stating this as more important to them now than before.  The same can be said for sustainable and ethically sourced products, which 20% of those surveyed are focusing on. Health, durability and quality are three of the more practical values, which have also shot up in importance for consumers during this time.

Let us know how the new normal has affected your business, and if you’ve noticed a shift in customer behaviour. We’d love to hear from you via email or on social media!

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