Almost three-quarters of consumers around the world report being comfortable to return to physical stores with the easing of local restrictions on movement in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The research, published by Mood Media, surveyed more than 8000 consumers in the UK, US, China and France and revealed 31 per cent spend less money and time shopping in physical stores than before the outbreak, compared with 21 per cent spending the same amount of money but less time than before and just three per cent spending more money and time than prior to the advent of Covid-19.
“Consumers’ retail habits are still evolving as businesses slowly begin to open again,” said Mood Media CMO Scott Moore. “Many consumers are spending less time in store and less money per visit, meaning they’ve become mission shoppers focused on getting in and out as quickly as possible”.
One fifth of global consumers cited economic reasons resulting from the pandemic as a reason for not yet returning to non-essential shopping, with Millennials being hit the hardest. Other factors cited included being “too nervous to visit non-essential retail” (38 per cent), “doing all of my shopping online” (38 per cent), and “someone does my shopping for me” (13 per cent).
Almost half of consumers globally feared they might catch the coronavirus while visiting a store, although 80 per cent feel safe with mask wearing and other safety measures. The desire for an in-store shopping experience remained a strong driver, however, with the ability to interact with a product the foremost reason for buyers globally to choose physical stores over e-commerce (47 per cent), followed by the convenience in bringing purchases home immediately (46.6 per cent) and the opportunity to browse and discover products (36 per cent).
“Those of us in the physical retail business must continue to think through every aspect – every step – of the customer experience journey, finding ways to mitigate fear and assure safety along the way,” said Moore. “Those businesses that step up to elevate the customer experience and help their customers streamline their shopping journey from start to finish have an opportunity to create a lifetime of customer loyalty far beyond the pandemic’s reach”.