Habit; a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously, which allegedly takes 21 days to form. As we’ve now bypassed over 182 days (six months) since lockdown was first announced by Boris Johnson, many consumers have adapted their shopping habits, with correlations being seen across groups of consumers.
Cast your memory back to early Spring this year. The birds were singing and the daffodils were blooming, whilst inside our British supermarkets, consumers were rampaging the stores to bulk-buy toilet roll, stampeding down baking aisles to grab the last remaining bags of plain flour and stockpiling their cupboards full of tinned food. Consumers spent an additional £524m on groceries in the first month of lockdown alone. Fast forward six months, toilet paper, flour and tinned goods are no longer seen as gold dust, but how has COVID-19 impacted consumers current shopping habits across other consumer markets?
As we’ve unfortunately witnessed during the pandemic, our beloved British high-street retailers have been at the brunt of declining profits and store closures. As the nation emerged from the aftermath of lockdown, many stores across UK cities and towns were plagued with “Closing Down” signs, or worse for some, never reopened. Recent data published by YouGov, suggests the worst is yet to come for British high streets. With an industry worth £26 billion, British consumers are having to adapt to the way they purchase from their beloved fashion retailers. This recent data from YouGov shows 1 in 2 (53%) Brits say the coronavirus outbreak has made them less likely to buy clothes in-store, painting a worrying picture for the future of the British high-street.
As the UK began to function cohesively within our new technological environment during the height of the pandemic, this new environment welcomed all generations to partake. However, older generations aren’t adapting to shopping online at the same pace as younger Brits. Whilst three in five 18 - to 24 year-olds (62%) now more likely to buy clothes online, this is only true for 45% of people aged 55 years and older. Among this age group, half (50%) are less open to buying clothes in-store, compared with 61% of 25- to 34-year-olds.
As consumers create new shopping habits, what can we learn from emerging trends in the retail fashion industry?
- With comfort coming first, a third of consumers who wear loungewear regularly, admit the pandemic has made them more likely to purchase additional items. Whilst retailers may see an influx of sales from new customers, they should also focus on their existing customers to maximise sales through an increase in average transaction value (ATV).
- The “Joe Wicks effect” swept across the nation during lockdown. As consumers increased their exercise regimes, they also increased their purchases within the market space, with a fifth (21%) of consumers more likely to purchase activewear. Keeping an eye on viral trends and referencing these within your comms as a way to make your brand more relatable can enable you to build rapport with both new and existing customers.
- As consumer spending habits have shifted, so have their priorities, and retailers need to be aware of this. With social distance (57%), convenience (37%) and price (27%) being the current top three priorities, it’s important to consider these when developing communications with customers.
Want to learn more?
Download Direct and with Purpose, Hotwire's UK latest retail trends report, to learn more about the steps brands need to adopt, ahead of the Christmas season, and how communications campaigns can support in this high-stakes world.
“The three most important things in retail are location, location, location. The three most important things for our consumer business are technology, technology, technology.” Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon