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Coronavirus Tracker: most UK shoppers have stopped going to stores – and four in 10 say they’ll continue to buy as they do now

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Almost nine in 10 (89%) UK shoppers say they have reduced or stopped their visits to shops as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic – and 43% now say that after the pandemic is over they expect to carry on shopping in the way they do now, the latest RetailX research suggests.  

Three in 10 (30%) of UK adults say they have now stopped going to physical stores altogether as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the latest edition of the RetailX Coronavirus Consumer Confidence Tracker suggests. The tracker questions 1,000 UK adults every fortnight via Pollfish. Those that now say they have stopped going to shops is slightly up on the 26% that said they had stopped on April 22. In the first installment of the study, on March 11, only 3% said they had stopped going to shops because of the coronavirus outbreak, but by March 25, two days after lockdown started in the UK, 29% already said they had stopped going to shops. 

The largest group of people is of those who say they have reduced their visits to stores, which has hovered at 60% since March 25, when it had risen from 21% the previous week. Yesterday that figure stood at 59%. That takes the total of those who have reduced or stopped their visits to 89%. 

Those who said they had not changed their stores visits yesterday stood at 9%, while 2% said they were now visiting stores more often. The tracker suggests that while shoppers changed their behaviour around shop visits considerably following lockdown on March 23, it has not varied enormously since then.

What has changed, however, is the proportion who say they will continue to shop as they do now. That has steadily risen to hit 43% this week, from 37% on April 22 and 29% on April 8. This week 50% say they will continue to shop as they did before the pandemic,  a figure that has steadily declined over the past eight weeks, from 54% on April 22 and 68% on March 25. 

Almost half (46%) now expect the pandemic issue to be over within four to 12 months, while 25% say it will in less than three months, and 22% expect it to take more than 6%.

Buying groceries online

Almost a third (32%) say they are buying more groceries online as a result of the pandemic, although 42% see no change, and 13% have reduced their online buying in this category, while 13% have stopped altogether. Almost half of respondents (47%) say that Covid-19 has reduced their ability to shop for groceries online, while 34% say it has made no difference.

Buying electronics online

Almost a quarter (24%), say they have stopped buying electronics online altogether, and 20% have reduced it. Thirteen per cent say they have increased their electronics shopping, and 43% have made no change.

A significant minority say Covid has reduced their ability to buy electronics (29%), although 59% say it hasn’t. 

Buying clothing online

More than a quarter (26%) say they have reduced their online clothes shopping, and 20% have stopped altogether. A third (33%) say nothing has changed, while 21% have increased their online clothes shopping. A significant minority say Covid has reduced their ability to buy clothing (32%), and more than half (53%) say it has not.

Here’s more insight on the trends as well as links to the previous installments of this study.

Image: RetailX

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