Study: Shoppers returning to stores as ‘new normal’ settles in

Marianne Wilson
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Shopper in store

A majority of consumers expect their shopping habits to be back to pre-pandemic levels by or before the end of this year.

That’s according to a new global research report from  on-premise media solutions company Mood Media, which found that shoppers are beginning to return to physical stores in significant numbers as pandemic measures lift around the world.

Four in five (80%) of global consumers said they feel ‘comfortable” returning to physical stores, according to the study, which was carried out by Censuswide and surveyed more than 8,000 consumers across four major markets – the U.S., U.K., China and France.

We’re experiencing a healthy buzz as shops reopen to a ‘new normal’ throughout the world,” said Scott Moore, global chief marketing officer  at Mood Media.

Consumers are eager to get back into stores to experience the joy of shopping again. “This new study validates what we are seeing and hearing every day – both online and offline play an important role in retail, oftentimes in harmony with one another. That balance is now returning with solid foot traffic in shops around the world.”

The report, Shopper Sentiments: A June 2021 Global Mood Survey, also looked at what global shoppers missed most about the physical shopping experience during lockdown. Nearly half (45%) said the experience of ‘touching and trying on’ items on the spot was what that they missed most when stores were closed.

The fun and social experience of shopping with friends and significant others is the second most missed aspect of physical shopping (35%), tied with the opportunity to bring the purchase home immediately at 35% as well.

“The figures generally show positive sentiment across all four countries surveyed,” Moore added. “While some reservations remain with regard to safety measures, people are generally voting with their feet and their wallets.”

Other highlights from the report are below.

  • Consumers have also enjoyed the merging of physical and digital, with 33%  of them citing plans to continue using Click and Collect/BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store) services beyond the pandemic, with U.S. consumers above the global average at 38%.
  • The percentage of respondents reporting an uptick in their spending compared to before the pandemic has increased from 23% in September 2020 to 29% in June 2021.
  • The percentage of consumers reporting they are spending less has also gone down, from 38% in 2020 to 25% today, while those citing spending the same as before the pandemic has increased from 40% to 46%.