Covid Lockdowns and Furlough - 42% will not return to High Street

November 2020


Shopping online is the new normal for 64% of UK

The latest research from Whistl on the impact of Covid lockdown on online shopping behaviour has found that 64% of the UK population consider shopping online to be the new normal. The figure rises to 70% for those at home during the day including working from home and on furlough. 

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In addition to the lack of shoppers who would typically be working in city and town centres, safety fears are a key driver of this change with 62% of the UK believing it is safer to shop online than on the high street. However, those who are already out and about going to and from work appeared to be less concerned about the safety aspect.

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In a worrying sign for retailers with only physical stores, 42% of those surveyed said that the move to shop online rather than on the high street is permanent. For retailers who target an 18-24 age demographic the shift is more dramatic with a staggering 55% saying they will not return to the high street.

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As well as the safety fears of shopping on the high street, 55% of respondents felt that shopping online was quicker and 52% believed that there was a greater choice for clothes in terms of colours and sizes. Interestingly, the inability to try on clothes in store was only mentioned by 2% of those surveyed.

Melanie Darvall, Director Marketing & Communications, Whistl, said: “Our research is a wake-up call for retailers large and small who do not have an online presence.  There is an unquestionable move away from the High Street, particularly with those consumers aged between 18-24.  It is unlikely they will be coming back to buy non-food items.

“A multi-channel retail approach is the way forward for traditional high street only retailers and it is simple and easy to implement.  From order to delivery, we offer scalable and flexible fulfilment solutions, combined with our unique outsourced Contact Centre facilities.  Whistl can ensure that retailers do not miss out as consumers change where and how they shop.”

The research from Whistl, the leading delivery management company in the UK, was undertaken with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 UK adults.

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