Since the lockdown started, 2 in 5 Brits (41%) say they have been shopping at their local, independent stores more regularly than they did before. It seems this rediscovered appreciation of independent stores is here to stay, with over a third of Brits (36%) planning to use their local stores more often after lockdown. A further 3 in 10 (29%) haven’t changed their shopping habits and have continued to shop locally as usual.
This is according to a new paper ‘Shopping in a coronavirus world: How retail is evolving’ from shopping comparison website finder.com, that highlights the winners and losers of the lockdown and gathers expert opinions on the future of retail.
The primary reason shoppers are visiting their local shops is to avoid the crowds in supermarkets (54%) and the queues outside them (54%).
Consumers are also motivated to support their local businesses during these times of financial hardship, making this the second most popular reason (46%).
Other reasons are not wanting to travel as far (39%), to find items that are sold out in the supermarkets (32%) and a quarter who couldn’t book online delivery slots from a supermarket (24%).
Not everyone has gone local for their lockdown shopping though, with 1 in 7 (14%) people using them less over the past few weeks. A fifth (19%) of Brits who are currently using them more believe that they will return to using them less frequently after the lockdown.
There are also 7% of consumers who are unable or unwilling to leave the house to go shopping.
Wales has seen the largest increase in residents using independent shops during the lockdown. Over half of residents there (51%) have visited these types stores more, with the most popular motivation for this change being crowds in supermarkets (51% of residents).
Once the lockdown measures are lifted, almost half (49%) of Wales’ residents intend to use them more, this is higher than any other region in the UK.
Generation X has been using local shops more than any other generation during the lockdown, with 45% shopping in these stores more. Similarly, 42% of generation X intend to use them more when the lockdown is ended.
Only a quarter of the silent generation (26%) have been using their local stores more during the coronavirus pandemic, which is less than any other generation. This low turnout is likely to be a result of almost a quarter of this generation (23%) being unable to leave their homes to shop at their local stores. However, it seems that this generation will use their local stores more when lockdown is over, with 30% saying they would do so.
The full paper, Shopping in a coronavirus world: How retail is evolving, includes expert comment from industry leaders along and can be viewed and linked to here.
Commenting on the findings, Georgia-Rose Johnson, shopping expert at finder.com said: “The fact that local, independent shops appear to be experiencing a boom in both demand and support during the lockdown will play a vital role in keeping local economies alive.
“It is an opportunity for these local shops to remind the community of the value and convenience they bring, and it seems this is being reciprocated by the high numbers of shoppers who want to support local business.
“A lot of people intend to continue giving regular custom to local shops, but the acid test will be when life eventually goes back to normal. Will this trend for local shopping continue or will the majority revert to relying on supermarkets?“