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Shoppers look forward to the end of lockdown, or so their online behaviour suggests

Summer time is coming

Retailers have seen a shift in consumer behaviour, including the products they search for online,  following Monday’s announcement to ease lockdown restrictions in the UK. 

Online fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing said there was a 62% increase in searches for going-out dresses this week and have even released a ‘June 21st collection’ to capitalise on the post-lockdown excitement. 

Other retail categories on consumers’ minds following the Prime Minister’s update included wine, spirits and tobacco, up 168% and beauty sales, up 63%, perhaps in early preparation for the first night of freedom, according to data from online affiliate network Awin.

A spokesman for Awin added that travel was also high on the post-lockdown essentials list: “We have seen travel sales up 201% week on week (WoW) just this Monday and Tuesday since the announcements on Monday, and traffic up 104% WoW.

“The largest sales increases WoW across travel include airlines (+656%), hotels and accommodation (+400%), airport parking and transfers (+218%), local holidays (+215%), although this isn’t as high in terms of percentage increase WoW as airlines had already started to see a small incline in domestic holidays in the year to date.” Sales of cruises and ferries (+199%) are also up. 

Will the online shopping trend continue post-lockdown? 

According to ParcelHero the average UK shopper will have spent £3,379 online in 2020. With this continued trend in online shopping, will brick and mortar retailers struggle to get back on their feet upon reopening in April? 

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, says: ‘The reopening of many stores in April can’t come too soon for High Street retailers. In fact, it may be too late already. UK shoppers now lead the world in the great migration to online.”

Springboard, on the other hand, is optimistic about people returning to the high street and have forecast that footfall will increase by 128.5% on April 12, in comparison to the same week last year, when non-essential retail is allowed to open again. 

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard commented: “As we approach the 12-month mark  since the start of the pandemic in the UK, lockdown fatigue is at its height and the increases in  footfall over the last five weeks have indicated the pent up demand for a return to normality. We  know from when non-essential retail reopened at the end of Lockdowns 1 in June and 2 in December  that footfall will rise sharply and we anticipate this will be more prominent than ever before with a rise of up to +47.9% (WOW).”

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