Tesco right to be cautious as 86% of UK consumers still uncertain about the future despite shopping habits stabilizing

Following today’s news that Tesco is expected to see significant costs due to COVID-19, including staff and operational costs;

Carmen Bryan, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on the UK’s current consumer behavior:

“Tesco is right to be cautious about giving a profit forecast for this financial year. Although shopping habits have certainly stabilized across the UK, uncertainty for the future still persists. According to GlobalData, 86% of Brits believe that the situation will get worse before it gets better – this is much higher than the global average (62%)*. This is indicative of a volatile shopping landscape, something that brands and retailers alike should take into account.

“As demand does finally stabilize however, FMCG producers may find a more challenging scenario. The UK public has been hit hard by the loss of jobs and general anxiety plaguing the country. Value consciousness, as such, is once again at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and just as retailers must take a wary approach to the future, it would be prudent for FMCG manufacturers to expect some fallout in a post-stockpiling world.

“It’s not all doom and gloom though. A notable change COVID-19 has shown us is the effectiveness of online and remote shopping; it is unlikely that the new shopping habits that consumers have picked up will return to pre-COVID-19. FMCG manufacturers can take this into account by working closer with retailers to offer more interactive promotions, traceability and information of their products, empowering the consumer and helping to create a better point of differentiation for themselves.”

*GlobalData’s new coronavirus (COVID-19) tracker consumer survey – 6th April – ‘a lot worse’, ‘a bit worse’ responses combined

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