The simplest Covid19 protection measure is also the most popular

Our Return to Retail survey was completed by almost 600 people across the UK and provides some useful insight for brands and retailers hoping to draw shoppers back to the High Street.

Our Return to Retail survey was completed by almost 600 people across the UK and provides some useful insight for brands and retailers hoping to draw shoppers back to the High Street.

‘To get some of my old life back’ and ‘to see a product I want in the flesh’ are the most popular reasons for people to return in-store.

 

Since the Government announced that non-essential retailers could open their doors from mid-June, the High Street and shopping centres have gradually come back to life. But will there be enough footfall for retailers to remain viable while the threat of Covid19 is still present?

Official data shows that during the main lockdown months of April and May, retail sales dropped significantly, and our survey results back that up. During lockdown 51% of respondents only shopped for essential items, and for a further 18% their non-essential shopping only extended to things for the house or DIY.

 

The Under 25’s were the most likely age group to shop more widely with 71% buying non-essential items online. And they were also over 3 times more likely to be enticed by great discounts than the survey average.

Now that shops are reopening, over half of our survey group are looking forward to returning to retail if protection measures are in place – and a fifth of respondents can’t wait to go in-store. Within the Over 55 age group, 61% of respondents are happy to head to the shops.

 

In fact, breaking down the data by age suggests that established shopping habits are playing a bigger part in people’s reaction to our new normal than the pandemic itself.

“Over 55s are more positive about returning to stores than Under 25s”

 

While age is a risk factor for Covid19, it is the Under 25 category who are most likely to only shop online until the risk of catching Covid19 is over – 27% compared to 19% for the Over 55’s. Also, while twice as many Under 25 shoppers would be enticed in-store by discounts and events compared to the Over 55’s, they are nine times less likely to choose in-store over online for big ticket items.

Some good news for retailers is that the most popular suggestions for how to make shoppers feel protected from Covid19 are also the simplest to implement. Over 82% of respondents want retailers to provide hand sanitiser at the entrance to their stores, and 79% want the number of people in-store to be limited.

Over 82% of respondents want retailers to provide hand sanitiser at the entrance to their stores.

 

Interestingly, temperature checks for staff was a more popular suggestion than staff wearing face masks (although comes with many more data protection challenges). 71% of respondents approve of Perspex barriers and 58% would like to see social distance markings on the floor. The least popular suggestion was sanitation booths on entry, although 46% of respondents saw this as a positive idea.

Our survey responses also suggest that once in-store, shoppers still want a retail experience. 85% feel comfortable having a conversation with retail staff, and about two thirds of respondents are happy to be given a product demonstration. Half of respondents also said that they were open to receiving free samples during their time in-store.

 

As well as the health and safety aspect of returning to retail there is also the economic one of course. While 64% of those surveyed said that they have enjoyed the simplicity of home living during the pandemic, 69% have suffered some reduction in income, and for 41% of those people the reduction has been major. Only the Over 55’s have fared better with 50% of respondents saying their finances have not been negatively affected.

 

 

Against all the barriers of health risk, finances and online convenience, the majority of people still want to go shopping.

 

High Street retail was working hard to re-invent itself amidst the surge of e-commerce before the Covid19 pandemic started, and the results of our survey suggest that retailers need to continue on this trajectory. Footfall numbers are likely to be down, and belts tightened. But against all the barriers of  health risk, finances and online convenience, the majority of people still want to go shopping – and retailers should take much optimism from that.

Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash

Share this

Posted by

MASH Staffing