Has the global pandemic lockdown changed our shopping habits here in the UK?

The global pandemic has had a huge impact on the retail industry in the UK due to high street store closures, but will brits be rushing back to the shops?

In a survey carried out by Simple Usability, 72% of Brits say lockdown has changed how they will shop.

Anxious, nervous and stressed! These are just some of the feelings associated with non-essential shops opening back up, according to a new survey. 

The outcome

1,452 UK residents were asked their thoughts on the easing of lockdown, online shopping habits, reopening of high street stores and how they expect to shop in the future. 72% say lockdown has changed their attitude about going to physical stores. Many of these saying they won’t enjoy going to a shop due to the safety measures and effort involved in staying away from others.

The survey results, shows a nation divided. 36% said they feel good about the easing of lockdown. 35% said it’s too early and they want to continue staying at home.

“I still think it will feel a lot more anxiety provoking, even when this all subsides. It’s forced us to be more aware of our closeness to others, and I don’t think that will disappear.” Respondent

52% of respondents said they need to see the measures shops have taken to keep people safe, before they visit. 24% said they are staying away altogether no matter what shops look like. Worryingly, 50% said they would also avoid restaurants and cafes in the near future. And 46% said they would be staying away from cinemas, raising grave concerns about the future survival of these industries.

On the other hand, 28% say lockdown has not affected their attitude towards going to a physical store again. When asked about what they’d need to see, to feel things were returning to normal. 66% said when social distancing was no longer mandatory. 50% say it will be when they don’t have to queue to enter a store. Only 5% say when schools are fully open and everyone is returning back to work then they will feel normal.

36% of people said when non essential shops open it would make them feel things are getting back to normal, with that longed for first haircut being top priority.

“I can do my own shopping at shops I prefer and not be limited to online delivery, and also get my hair done.” Respondent

Lockdown has helped Brits appreciate the convenience of deliveries, as 91% of respondents reported to have shopped online during lockdown! 25% said they enjoyed the excitement of receiving a delivery, claiming it was something to look forward to. The survey also revealed a change in attitude towards online shopping, from those who have previously never tried it. 

“I’m 75 and not having to queue or go into shops has meant that online shopping, which I have never before done for groceries, has felt safer & been a real bonus ” Respondent

Guy Redwood, founder of SimpleUsability, comments:

“Whilst the results of our survey reveal caution by the British public, there are certainly glimmers of hope for reviving the retail and hospitality industries. If brands are transparent about their approach and consistent with keeping people safe in public spaces, they will see footfall gradually increase as the weeks progress. But as with the easing of lockdown, it could still take months to see anything near normality and businesses have to prepare for even the most loyal customers changing their shopping habits for good.”

Founded by Guy Redwood in 2001, SimpleUsability is a Leeds-based behavioural research and user experience consultancy. Survey conducted between 5th and 8th June 2020, of 1452 UK residents, by www.SimpleUsability.co.uk

Back to Top