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Majority of shoppers still less likely to shop in store than pre-pandemic, even with the removal of covid restrictions

Where is the footfall?

The Covid restrictions may have eased, consumers don’t plan on rushing back to the high street, with 70.6% of respondents stating that they are now less likely to shop in store. Furthermore, according to the survey from retail platform Unfolded it’s not only where people shop that has changed, but also what is driving their purchasing decisions post Covid.

Almost 3/4s of people expecting to shop less in store than they did pre-pandemic is another bitter blow to the high street which saw 17,219 stores close in the past year according to PWC. 48 stores closed each day in 2020 and 47 per day in 2021 and according to these survey results although covid restrictions may be easing the high street isn’t done changing yet.

According to the survey, consumers are now also basing their purchase decisions on much more sustainable values than previously. UK consumers stated that the most important factors when choosing to purchase new clothes are; 86.1% want sustainable fabrics, 81.1% consider factory working conditions and 78.6% choose based on price.

Whereas in what could signal the end of the fast fashion trend, only 15.9% are concerned with fast delivery.

And those questioned aren’t just paying lip service to change but plan to play their part by altering their own shopping habits in 2022, with 73.1% planning to shop less, 62.2% planning to choose brands who invest in good causes, 61.2% planning to upcycle and reuse and 57.2% planning to ditch fast fashion.

The research was conducted by sustainable fashion platform Unfolded, a brand new way to shop affordable, sustainable clothes that are made without waste, powered by data, community and a factory to consumer model. Clothes are designed in conjunction with consumers and items are only produced once orders are placed, removing overstock and ensuring demand is matched to production. Each garment sold creates long term change by supporting a child in India in education and paying better worker wages.

Cally Russell, CEO and Co-founder of Unfolded says: ‘It’s clear from this research and the input from hundreds of shoppers that Covid has changed the face of retail in the UK forever and the sooner this is realised the better for our high streets and the brands and retailers that call them home. The removal of Covid restrictions will not cause the uptick in footfall that many brands and retailers may be hoping for.

Russell continues: “To succeed in retail in 2022 we need to understand that not only have shopping habits changed thanks to covid lockdowns but the pandemic has also prompted shoppers to be more aware of the impact their shopping choices make on the planet and its workforce, with more and more looking for sustainable ethical options.”

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