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77% of consumers say they have bought more during lockdown and will continue to do so

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Now used to physical stores being closed and despite the potential for a significant recession, 77% of all consumers who have purchased more online during the lockdown expect to continue to do so after it has ended, a new study suggests. 

42% say they will continue to purchase more groceries, including beverages, online. 20% will continue to purchase more clothing, 11% more footwear, 16% more home, garden and DIY products, 18% more healthcare, 11% beauty and cosmetics, 6% more luxury goods and 11% will continue to purchase more technology online.  

The research, commissioned by global commerce services company PFS, also found that 60% of UK consumers admit to purchasing more during lockdown. Unsurprisingly, consumers report increased purchasing for food, with fresh groceries (26% of consumers), long-life groceries (34%) and household goods, such as cleaning products and toilet paper (30%). 

However, despite social interaction being severely limited, 19% of consumers reported purchasing more healthcare products online, whilst 11% have bought more beauty and cosmetics products and 6% have bought more luxury goods online. 11% also said they have purchased more technology online since the beginning of lockdown than before.  

A quarter (25%) of Millennials have increased their purchasing of home, garden and DIY products online, meanwhile 12% of Gen Z have purchased more footwear and 22% have purchased more clothing. 

UK/US consumer behaviour and expectation comparisons 

Social distancing and the COVID-19 Pandemic have encouraged almost four in ten (39%) UK consumers and more than half (52%) of UK millennials to buy goods online that they had not considered buying online before the COVID-19 Pandemic, compared to over six in ten consumers (63%), 75% of US Millennials. 

Over seven in ten consumers in both the UK and US (71%) expect delivery within a week or less during the COVID-19 Pandemic, compared to 90% in the UK not during COVID-19 and 83% in the US normally. 

The research found that millennials are the most demanding age group with 19% of UK Millennials and 24% of US Millennials expecting delivery in 24 hours or less compared to 21% normally in the UK and 26% in the US, not during COVID-19. 

Almost four in ten (39%) US consumers and 51% US Millennials agree they have shopped with online retailers they have not purchased from before during the COVID-19 Pandemic and intend to continue to shop with them after the good experience they had. This compares to 25% agreement overall in the UK, 35% with UK Millennials. 

Zach Thomann, Executive Vice President & General Manager at PFS, comments: “Our research has identified that aside from the obvious increase in purchasing of food and beverages, consumers have turned to online shopping to help them make it through the Coronavirus Pandemic, buying more cosmetics and clothes online than they did before. Interestingly, the majority see this increase in purchasing to continue after the lockdown. Brick-and-mortar retailers need to prepare now for this forced acceleration in the migration to online shopping.” 

Thomann concludes: “Interestingly, UK consumers have been more conservative than their US counterparts in terms of their increase in purchasing. They are also prepared to wait longer for their deliveries. However, it’s important to note that the US often leads the way and that as new technologies and services are trialled and become widely available, UK consumer expectations will likely rise. It’s important that online retailers and brands monitor and keep pace with the change to avoid disappointing customers.” 

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