Ever since the UK government announced the closure of non-essential retail stores in March, UK consumers turned to e-commerce to make their purchases.
After the main streets were opened up, it was mandatory for stores to implement social distancing measures and limit the number of people in stores. However, the opening of more physical stores did not encourage more consumers to shop in-store.
eMarketer predicted that UK consumers will spend £141.33 billion ($180.39 billion) online this year, a massive increase of 34.7% from 2019’s numbers. This is the first time the e-commerce sales will contribute over 30% of total retail sales in the UK.
Speaking of turning digital, another group of consumers that have adopted digital shopping during the lockdown period is the once tech-resistant generation aged 65 years and older. Over 50% of the said age group are now shopping online.
“There’s often reticence, certainly in the over-65s, to adopt new technology and to make changes in behavioral or consumption patterns,” said Gemma Spence, CEO of OMG Transact, the e-commerce arm of Omnicom Media Group.
“But we’ve found that it takes six weeks to make or break a habit. During the past three months of lockdown, there has been enough time.”
It seems like more UK consumers are opening up to the growth of digital shopping trends. This new habit of shopping online might stay with consumers in the UK, as this pandemic creates a new shift in the way consumers shop.