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Daniel Todaro, Managing Director, Gekko OPINION


Behavioural trends: All eyes on the high street


14


Reflecting on the year so far in retail and presenting market data, Daniel Todaro looks at the changing shopping habits of consumers and what retailers need to do to keep up.


T


his year’s pandemic and subsequent lockdown designated retail as shut with zero footfall in non-essential stores, a situation never experienced before.


However, this is now in the past and footfall has continued to grow. The concerning factor for all is that the


recovery is slower than anticipated due to consumer confidence dipping, but more importantly reflecting the safety concerns held by some consumers. This has meant that many shoppers still do not want to venture into public spaces without purpose. Safety, it seems, is the most important factor for people when going shopping. More than half of consumers, who would have been in a retail store, believe the risk to be high, posing a challenge to draw shoppers back to stores.


This is further compounded by the increase in


online trading which enables those who are staying away to continue spending as they did during lockdown. Admittedly, some were new to e-commerce and others a dab hand, so perhaps never really impacted the drop in physical or increase in ecommerce, whichever way you chose to look at it. Evidence shows some consumers intend to permanently change their shopping behaviour, including purchasing more online as a result of the ongoing risk of COVID- 19 or a new found change in shopping habits. The pandemic forced change in habits not


through choice and as a result, due to coronavirus, may have no intention or need to go back to old practices. Now for those with an omnichannel proposition it has assisted them to boost sales, with multichannel retailers recording increases in online


sales even as their stores opened up in June. Shoppers are now four times more likely to


change their habits, shifting to online in the long term, particularly if they have health concerns. As an example, all retail sales in May this year


had a value of £28.4bn; if this, around £9.6bn was from online transactions.


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