Press Releases

Shoppers abandon the high street

Published: 16th July 2020
Author: Rumpus PR


Retailers without an online presence risk losing out this Christmas, as consumers cite a lack of stock, disagreements with other shoppers and too many rules as the main reasons for avoiding bricks and mortar stores since the start of the pandemic.

Research carried out by Skuuudle, a competitor price and product monitoring service, found that a fifth of British consumers (21%) have not visited a store since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak1, instead choosing to shop exclusively online.

The survey found that around a third of people had experienced a lack of product availability, forcing them to look elsewhere or online. Nearly a fifth (18%) 1 said they had been involved in disagreements with other shoppers over a lack of social distancing or not wearing face coverings.

Furthermore, 68% of people admitted that the pandemic has had a moderate or high impact on their desire to hit the high street1. In addition, 38% of people predicted that they would be spending less money in stores over Christmas versus the same period in 20191. The findings reflect similar reports from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which found that 27.5% of sales in September took place online, compared with just 20.1% in February.

With Black Friday around the corner and the festive season only weeks away, it paints a stark picture for high street stores, which have already been hit by lockdown restrictions, product shortages and competition from e-commerce.

It’s not all doom and gloom however; 38% of people said they envisage spending more money on food and drink compared to Christmas 2019, followed by clothing and accessories (18%) and technology (17%).

Price and price comparison will be especially important this year, as price-sensitive shoppers turn their attention to searching for deals; 41% of people are now comparing prices online for a single product more often than ever before.

Interestingly, the biggest driver for consumers making a purchasing decision online was free delivery, with 60% citing it as the factor most likely to persuade them to buy. This was followed by 59% who were enticed by discounts and 33% being swayed by the availability of voucher codes.

“It’s been a challenging year for Britain’s retail sector with new rules and regulations, panic buying and a move to online shopping all having a significant impact,” says James Hilton, CEO at Skuuudle.

“Our research shows that the desire to visit shops has been massively affected by the pandemic as the ultra-cautious move to shopping solely online. This presents a huge opportunity for retailers to tap into demand and review their online proposition to attract those who now prefer home deliveries.

“It’s also clear that price sensitivity and the ability to compare prices online are factors that are playing a hugely important role in consumer decision-making. Consumers are savvier than ever when it comes to choosing how and where they spend their money, so retailers need to ensure that they’re offering the most competitive prices to attract new customers and keep existing ones.”

*Survey of 2,000 UK adults (nationally representative) conducted by One Poll – commissioned by Skuuudle

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