A majority of consumers say COVID-19 will continue impacting how they shop in 2021, but brick-and-mortar retailers have reason for optimism.
According to a survey of more than 14,000 U.S. consumers by shopping rewards app Shopkick, 60% of respondents say the pandemic has changed their shopping habits forever. Two-thirds (67%) of respondents plan to always stay stocked up on essential products, and close to half will continue to take fewer, but bigger shopping trips (49%) and buy online more (46%).
However, despite online shopping’s growth in popularity during COVID-19, nine in 10 (89%) respondents to purchase essential items in brick-and-mortar stores in 2021, while more than six in 10 (63%) plan to purchase non-essential items in physical stores in the upcoming year. Only 10% plan to use omnichannel options like BOPIS more often in 2021.
When it comes to planning their 2021 budgets, most respondents say they will be tightening their spending on both non-essential (69%) and essential purchases (58%) as a result of the pandemic. Through the rest of 2020, slightly more than half of respondents (52%) say they are proceeding with caution and will keep spending low, while 19% say they have been hit hard and are significantly tightening their budgets. On the other hand, some (18%) say they are spending as they typically would pre-COVID, while others (11%) say they are gradually returning to old spending habits.
In the physical store, two-thirds (67%) of respondents want to see continued efforts around the availability of disinfectants, while half or more want to see plexiglass barriers at checkout (57%), employees wearing protective face coverings (52%), six-feet social distancing markers (52%), and shoppers wearing protective face coverings (50%).
Other interesting statistics from the survey include:
• Almost four in 10 (38%) respondents stated they now care less about brand names.
• Gen Z (42%) is the generation most hopeful that life will return to “normal” in the new year, compared to 35% of millennials, 32% of Gen X, and 30% of boomers.
“The lessons we have learned from 2020 are crucial to informing how retailers and brands should adjust their strategies in the new year,” said David Fisch, general manager of Shopkick. “Our findings continue to tell us that physical retailers are not going away, they just need to be reimagined. Health and safety regulations that help people feel more secure will continue to be essential, as well as implementing the right technology to create the seamless, omnichannel shopping experience consumers have grown to expect.”