How has Lockdown Changed Shopping Habits

Back in March 2020, the UK was placed on lockdown in an effort to combat the spread of Covid-19. Shoppers were thrown into the online world (more so than ever before); businesses made the jump to selling online in order to keep their businesses alive through the hardest times they have possibly faced. 

The British public rallied around their favourite shops and made the move to online, whilst also choosing to support smaller, independent local businesses too. Even shopping for the essentials like food and drink has moved online - people that were shielding, unable to visit the supermarkets or just simply those who didn’t want to risk exposing themselves to the virus - being able to order wine online, or your weekly food shop has made life a lot easier for a lot of people. 

Over the lockdown, two things happened to our shopping habits, the ways in which we spent money shrank dramatically, and we also took more time to decide what we spent our money on. With only around half of the average household income spent on essentials, the latest government figures suggest a fifth of our usual household spending wasn’t possible at all during the lockdown, particularly on activities like travel, holidays and meals out.

Some households have been able to put a nice buffer aside in lockdown savings, however, it is unlikely that shoppers are going to flood back to the traditional high street when the online version is so much easier (and safer). A mix of low consumer confidence and limits on the number of people able to enter stores means that many shops will continue to suffer lower footfall – and lower sales – for some time to come.

Consumers are being urged to do their research on costs as retailers keen to drum up customers post lockdown offer competitive deals to win sales, especially before the novelty of a physical shop wears off. While some people will have taken a big financial hit over the lockdown period, others have saved by staying at home, not having to commute or pay for childcare.

Among those that have saved, there is likely to be an initial surge in spending as we purchase items that we’ve been waiting months to buy, however, it’s important to not go overboard. It may be tempting to spend additional savings soon after lockdown lifts, however, the pandemic has proven financial challenges can arise quickly and seemingly from nowhere. 

As lockdown lifts, we should find the balance between prioritising essential purchases while also maintaining some of these savings where possible. But if we are planning to splash out the cash it won’t be on an impulsive spend. At least not at first.

With the UK lockdown lasting 85 days, shoppers will have spent longer than usual weighing up purchases, leading to potentially less impulsive spending now that many shops are re-opening.

Brits are now typically taking 22 days to decide what car to buy, 19 days to select furniture for their home and just over a week deliberating on what household appliances to buy.


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