Most shoppers will still steer clear of the high street and shop online post-Covid: study

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Sixty per cent of shoppers say they will avoid the high street over the next month, according to a new study. 

Most shoppers (67%) say they currently feel comfortable buying online – but only 29% feel comfortable being in store, a new study suggests. 

ChannelAdvisor questioned 1,050 people via Dynata and found more than half (60%) said they had not visited a shop since they reopened, and of those that did, 40% said the in-store experience was less enjoyable than before Covid. Ways in which they were less enjoyable included the loss of convenience, thanks to queues (47%), not being able to try on clothing in-store (26%) and longer checkout waiting times than before Covid (37%). 

Most (56%) say they now plan to do more research online before buying in-store. Some 71% say they’ll research via marketplaces such as Amazon, while the same number will look up items on a retailer’s website, and 64% will use search engines.

More than half (53%) say they’ve found new brands online during lockdown and plan to continue to buy with them online. That rose to 70% among those aged between 26 and 35.

Jon Maury, managing director, EMEA at ChannelAdvisor, said: “We knew that there would be some hesitation around visiting the shops during reopening week, but it appears as though many customers will continue to stay away for at least the next month. Retailers should be commended for introducing safety precautions into their physical locations, but they should also be making use of digital channels as many customers continue to stay away. Online marketplaces are becoming the shopping avenue of choice for the majority of customers, so brands and retailers need to ensure they’re setting up their digital shopfronts now while in-store sales growth is slow.”

So far, footfall figures have shown that while visitor numbers to shops improved compared to the previous week as non-essential stores emerged from lockdown, they were still well down on the previous year.

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