Lockdown builds on UK eCommerce habits

According to Google, when the UK went into lockdown and people were told to stay at home as much as possible and all non-essential shops were closed, online searches surged to record highs. Delivery of cream tea items and gardening tools topped the search lists.

Based on the number of births recorded between 2000-2018 there were about 3 million under 18s in England and Wales who experienced a birthday during lockdown, and in the first week after lockdown there was a rise in searches for birthday items such as cakes and balloons as people tried to make celebrations special in the absence of parties with family and friends. With Easter also coming a few weeks into the full lowdown period there was a surge in people trying to get hold of chocolate eggs by supermarket delivery.

Lockdown and eCommerce

Now that lockdown has been slowly easing over the past few weeks, research has shown that only 16% of UK consumers intend to return to their old shopping habits, signifying the lasting change that Covid-19 will have on the retail industry and the cementing of eCommerce habits.

The research conducted by Wunderman Thomson which surveyed 2,000 UK consumers on their recent shopping habits discovered that, the need for safety during the lockdown has resulted in a shift in shoppers’ habits and traits with a particular trend towards online channels.

Online purchasing accounted for 62% of all shopping during lockdown compared to 43% before the pandemic. Although online shopping is predicted to account for over half (51%) of all spending in the near future, it will remain higher than it was before the pandemic.   Fear of contracting the virus from future outbreaks will also play its part in driving online spending as people are scared of shopping instore.

Although shopping habits may have been forced to change during the lockdown, some familiar factors have emerged:

  • 61% of shoppers identity free delivery as a key purchase driver
  • 57% cited availability as a key factor
  • 53% of consumers said price was a key driver

Interestingly, 28% of people wanted free returns to be more readily available – which may be a knock-on effect of people buying more items from new or less used retailers.

And according to a survey commissioned by mobile network provider O2, the average Brit will spend just under 43 minutes ‘shopping around’ online before committing to a purchase, with almost four in 10 also reading online reviews before finally hitting ‘buy’.

And this is what consumers are looking to get a good deal on:

  1. Insurance (58 per cent)
    2. White goods (52 per cent)
    3. Energy providers (gas, electric etc.) (51 per cent)
    4. Clothes (49 per cent)
    5. Mobile phone contract (47 per cent)
    6. Furniture (45 per cent)
    7. A new car (43 per cent)
    8. Days out such as a trip to the zoo or theme park (31 per cent)
    9. Meals out (27 per cent)
    10. Tickets such as to gigs and sporting events (21 per cent)
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