Following the first UK lockdown in March 2020, online shopping surged across the UK and Europe by 129%. Although numbers have since decreased, online shopping has become the ‘new normal’ for many.

Now, as we approach Christmas 2021, why is it that people are still choosing their sofa over a storefront, online rather than in person?

Online Shopping – The Facts

Online shopping has existed since the mid-nineties, but only in recent years have consumers become entirely reliant on this development. Companies have acted accordingly.

Internet giant Amazon quickly adjusted to lockdown, improving their ‘next day delivery’ services and offering more items than ever. There are around 15 million British shoppers subscribed to Amazon Prime!

Even supermarkets offered online shopping more than ever to promote consumer safety when COVID lockdown was at its peak, and many shoppers haven’t looked back. According to a Statista study, 42.6% of shoppers who shopped online for groceries during lockdown have said they will continue to do so, even without Government restrictions.

Research has shown that only 6% of users plan to do their Christmas shopping exclusively in-store. Almost half of all UK consumers plan to do all shopping online. But is COVID the deciding factor in shoppers’ new habits, or is it associated with ease and convenience in an ever-changing, busy, and dynamic world?

Shockingly, even though almost half of the shoppers plan to buy more than last year, only half of this figure associated their change in shopping habits to lockdown and COVID. Many suggested that alternative factors were influencing their shopping decisions. For example:

  • Price.
  • Discounts.
  • Loyalty Programmes.
  • Brand Accessibility.
  • Eco-Friendliness.
  • A Diverse and Inclusive brand.
  • Speed of Delivery.

The reliance on online shopping and spending was likely catalysed by COVID, meaning brands had to adjust accordingly. Without the pandemic, it was likely that the change would have developed over time. This is due to technological innovation rather than the pressing need for consumers to have something to do whilst on furlough and not spending money elsewhere.

Black Friday Sales

With Black Friday just around the corner (26th November 2021) and Cyber Monday a few short days after, we are already beginning to see the most significant sales of the year infiltrate the shops – both high street and online. It is expected that spending will go up around 20% from last year, primarily online – just in time for Christmas.

For most, it is easier to find the best deals by ‘looking around’ online, instead of heading to a local high street, shopping centre or retail park.

Although many have claimed to find the best deals in the physical retailers in previous years, rather than the online listings – so is the actual reason consumers choose online shopping convenience, especially if they can find better deals in a high street store?

Why Have Shopping Habits Changed?

There is no single reason to answer the question of why shopping habits have changed.

Retailers are working harder than ever to create and maintain USPs (Unique Selling Points) whilst consumers continuously search for the quickest and easiest way to purchase and receive new items.

Small businesses can now improve in logistical methods that historically have caused the business failure and a lack of competition. This is due to the ease of using social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, payment platforms like PayPal and Klarna, and marketplaces like Not on The High Street and Etsy, which reduce the significant hassle when selling a product.

The ability to remain entirely online, without the need for a brick-and-mortar location, means that companies can save on costs. This means they can invest in other areas that are becoming increasingly important to consumers, such as being environmentally aware, offering vegan products, prioritising accessible delivery services, and ensuring high-quality packaging.

How can FireTap help?

If you are struggling to exploit your USP, manage and maintain your social media, or effectively manipulate your website to generate the most engagement, FireTap can help you.

We provide expert and dynamic marketing and advertising solutions and services across various businesses, covering all sectors.

Please do not hesitate to contact us today for intelligent, strategic, responsive marketing and advertising services.