While UK shops look to reopen on 15 June, research has found many consumers who turned to online shopping out of necessity intend to shop even more frequently online after lockdown ends. Older shoppers especially said they wil continue purchasing online.
The news comes as the Covid-19 crisis is driving a new wave of online consumers as two in five (42 percent) people say they will shop online more frequently after lockdown ends.
E-commerce platform ChannelAdvisor and research firm Dynata surveyed 1,033 UK consumers. The results found that while many were turning to the internet for essential items, 40 percent of shoppers were also purchasing luxury items such as fashion items or electronics, offering an optimistic lifeline for brands suffering from bricks and mortar closures.
There were signs that many previously ambivalent online shoppers will stick with e-commerce after the crisis ended. Before the crisis, 45 percent of respondents said they shopped online occasionally or rarely - this rose to 70 percent among shoppers aged 56 years or older. Yet nearly a third (31 percent) of this older group now predict that after lockdown they will shop online more frequently than they did before March 2020 - just 6 percent said they would likely shop in store more frequently after lockdown ends.
Three in five (59 percent) of 26-35 year olds predicted they would shop online more often in the long term, compared to 42 percent of 36-45 year olds and 37 percent of 46-55 year olds.
Consumers across all age groups reported that they were shopping online more frequently during lockdown, with nearly two thirds (63%) of 26-35 year olds, half (48 percent) of 36-45 year olds and and two in five (41 percent) of people over 56 years old purchasing more items online.
The products driving e-commerce spending
When asked to describe their online shopping habits at present, more than a third (36percent) say they are treating themselves to luxury goods as well as essential items. This rose to 45 percent for both 18-25 and 26-35 year olds, and 42 percent of 36-45 year olds. A quarter (27 percent) of all respondents have spent more than 300 pounds online in the last two months on items aside from groceries, while 25 percent had purchased from retailers they had not shopped with before.
The results also offer hope for fashion brands. When asked which items, excluding groceries, they predict they will purchase online next, fast fashion items such as jeans or dresses were the third most popular choice after books / hobby items and essential beauty goods. However, among 18-25 year olds fashion items were the most popular prediction for their next online purchase.
ChannelAdvisor’s research also revealed different habits between genders. Nearly a third (31 percent) of women said they had purchased beauty or haircare products online since the start of March compared to 19 percent of men. ChannelAdvisor’s platform data saw the health and beauty sector experience strong year-on-year growth throughout March and April as salons closed and consumers stayed indoors.
More than half (51 percent) of respondents said they have purchased items online for others since the outbreak of the crisis. According to the data 26-35 year olds are the group most likely to purchase items on behalf of others (60 percent had bought goods online for someone else) and women more likely than men (54 percent compared to 47 percent respectively).
Jon Maury, EMEA Managing Director for ChannelAdvisor, said: “While some shops may reopen on 15 June, the instore experience will likely be quite different to what many consumers are used to and these results indicate that digital channels will continue to offer a lifeline for retailers and brands. Lockdown has driven many consumers online in search of essential and luxury goods and there are signs that many will continue shopping online, particularly older consumers who tend to have more disposable income. Brands that provide a convenient online service will win the loyalty of this new wave and keep them coming back, even if shoppers are slow to flock to the high street once lockdown ends.”
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