October 2020

In-store consumers more likely to convert The good news is that those who like to shop in person will continue to do so in order to have a customer experience worthy of their purchasing trends. This is more evident in considered purchases and in the CE category where we are seeing consumers shopping with purpose. They are travelling and entering retail with a clear determination to purchase and as a result we are seeing a +40 per cent conversion rate of product demonstration leading to a sale. Naturally, this is determined by the experience and engagement they receive in-store and a bad retail environment or salesperson pre- lockdown isn’t going to change that post-lockdown. Back in June and July, huge amounts of

people were willing to queue up to make an in-store purchase. It is important to note that 47 per cent of consumers say that price promotion is their main driver of shopping in- store after the lockdown. Consumer sentiment in the UK has remained particularly resilient over the past few months, according to surveys taken by PwC. In demographic terms, 18-24 year olds are the

most optimistic age group and 45-64 year olds the most pessimistic. At a glance, these statistics are more important than you may give them credit for when you consider the categories that require a considered effort to appeal to a specific target audience or demographic. Every category has been re-forecasted for the

second half of 2020 and retailers are cutting their forecasts to meet these changes. MDA in particular has seen its estimates for 2020 updated to account for the current pandemic, with the forecast sales volume for the year now predicted to fall by 11 per cent from 2019. Sadly, the forecasters predict that the MDA market will only return to 2019 levels in 2023. This is also true of the TV category, where

sales this year are now predicted to fall by 6.9 per cent from those achieved last year. As both are crowded categories with much

competition, the battle to leverage every potential sale becomes greater. The emphasis retailers place on the shopping experience is essential to ensure these forecasts don’t slip further, widening the gap. Coronavirus has definitely had an indirect

impact on the smart home market, mainly due to the closure of retail. However, the Government’s “stay at home” orders did lead to a growth on certain products. This created a 25 per cent year-on-year spike for 2020 vs 2019 and despite coronavirus it is the one a few categories forecasted to grow globally by $31.7b. Incremental growth in smart is a target area for retailers who should be tapping into the new found convenience of this category – discovered predominantly by the inconvenience of lockdown.

The home is our new centre of existence In response to the lockdown, the reality of working from home has meant many technology brands in the market have shifted focus to home productivity and accessories. Retail must take learnings from this to support the initiatives and messaging put out by brands to ensure they are able to engage consumers looking for technology to support their change in working habits. This growth is expected to plateau as

consumers kit out their home work environments, although it is still a positive market with future growth. I remain optimistic as we head into the winter

season that retailers will find new innovative ways to engage their customers as they choose to shop in their stores.

It is worth noting also some of the clear winners

this year, including ‘home’ stores with many consumers opting to tackle home improvement projects whilst in lockdown and on furlough. Considered purchases are winning out. The

consumer electronics sector is showing a positive rebound as consumers shop with purpose. As it seems health and safety will be paramount

for shoppers over the coming months, appointment booking in the considered purchase space may be the way forward; it seems those who commit to the appointment do so with a clear intention to purchase. This trend seems to be speeding up the customer journey and increasing much needed sales. Therefore, retailers need to be creative to ensure their offering is worthy of the time each and every consumer spends in store.

Every category has been re- forecasted for the second half of 2020, including the MDA sector.


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