Worried UK consumers will continue to shun shops in 2020 due to COVID-19, according to a new UK consumer survey from GlobalData

–  Only a third of UK consumers (excluding those in Scotland) have visited non-essential shops since they re-opened in June*

–  UK online spend is forecast to rise by over £15bn this year with 55.9% of consumers spending more online as a result of the outbreak

–  51.7% of UK consumers do not expect their daily lives to return to normal until the end of 2020

Uncertainty around the spread of COVID-19 in the UK has meant that footfall remains subdued in shopping locations with only a third of consumers (excluding those in Scotland) visiting non-essential shops since they re-opened in June. This signals more tumultuous times ahead for retailers, says leading data and analytics company GlobalData.

For non-essential retailers that were forced to shutter their shops, the news from GlobalData that 51.7% of UK consumers do not expect their daily lives to return to normal until the end of 2020 will be worrying. With millions of UK consumers set to continue shopping online – 55.9% of consumers have spent more online in 2020 due to the outbreak – UK online spend is now forecast to rise by over £15bn this year**.

Sofie Willmott, Lead Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Sentiment among the UK public is pessimistic, with 43.4% of consumers expecting the COVID-19 outbreak situation to worsen in the next month and only 22.8% expecting things to improve.”

Until confidence starts to rise and consumers feel safer in stores, footfall will remain muted with little chance that the remainder of 2020 will be able to make up for lost spend during lockdown.

Willmott continues: “Of those that have ventured back to shops in recent weeks, 43.5% made clothing purchases. They have clearly missed the sensory experience of physically buying clothing (despite not being able to try items on in most stores) and this was, by far, the most popular product purchased. For some consumers, the online channel has not been an adequate substitute during lockdown, with Primark being the most missed retailer losing out on spend due to not having a transactional website.”

Now that stores have re-opened, physical shopping behaviour for clothing has changed drastically with very few consumers leisurely browsing the shops as they would have done pre-pandemic. Instead, planned, intentional purchasing has become the norm.

Willmott adds: “With face masks being required in shops in England from 24th July, the visual reminder will ensure the virus remains at the forefront of consumers’ minds impacting shopping habits into 2021.”

* Data taken from GlobalData’s survey of 2,000 nationally representative
UK consumers conducted in early July 2020.

** GlobalData latest market forecasts correct at time of publication

More Media