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Study: Consumer appetite for brick-and-mortar retail remains strong

Consumers' desire for brick-and-mortar retail remains high, even with the growth of online shopping during the pandemic year.

That’s according to a report from international research and data analytics group YouGov, which found that brick-and-mortar continues to be the go-to method (78%) for purchasing everyday essential items such as food, drinks toiletries and more. Conversely, online retail channels are the preferred channel (72%) for discretionary items such as shoes, clothing, and electronics (72%). The study found that the top reasons people shop in brick-and-mortar include physically experiencing products (62%), the ability to try things in store (53%) and speed of purchase (45%).

"When looking at the data for the white paper, it was striking to see that, despite the huge online retail boom during the pandemic, bricks-and-mortar retail is still more popular in many categories – for example textiles and clothing – and therefore has a great chance of rebounding; it is just a question of when,” said Adam Guiney, director of customer experience, YouGov. Our study aims to help outlets and brands understand the dynamics of the retail sector, which has never been shaken as much as it has been during the past year.”

The YouGov report, ‘International Omni-Channel Retail Report 2021,’ looks at shopping habits throughout the pandemic and the implications for the future of retail. Additional findings are below.

• Brick-and-mortar penetration levels are nearly double the online rates across essential categories. The largest gap is seen with food and drink items, where penetration is 32 points higher in brick-and-mortar channels.

• Globally, women have much stronger online retail purchase behavior versus men for a variety of essential and discretionary product categories. Importantly, the biggest differences show up among the most penetrated categories online including personal care, clothing, and cosmetics (41% of females vs 25% of males).

• Delivery charges and the inability to physically experience products ranked highest in terms of online purchasing barriers (46%). While many see convenience as a benefit by limiting the need for a trip to the store, there are times that delivery waits become a barrier, especially when shoppers’ needs are immediate.

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