CACI predicts how retail will look when the lockdown lifts

Working practices and shopping habits among biggest changes

CACI, the consumer and location intelligence specialist, has identified five key trends revealing how consumer behaviour is likely to change as the lockdown lifts.

Through a UK representative survey of 1,000 adults across 30 April and 1 May using their research partner ResearchBods, CACI has identified new habits formed over the last two months look likely to become part of the ‘consumer psyche’, leading to five new trends that will impact how people live their lives, with implications for landlords and operators in all sectors. These are:

  • Work: Working practices have changed with 35 per cent of workers expecting to increase the amount they work from home, which could have big implications on the role of city centres and also a resurgence of the local high street and suburbs, particularly in London and the South East.
  • Online: Older shoppers have bridged the digital divide as the lockdown has forced many previously reluctant groups to engage in online behaviours that they had resisted. Older shoppers are also likely to continue social distancing post-lockdown, and will therefore increase their online spend.
  • What stores look like: Over 75 per cent of people will choose their brands and places on how safe they feel.  Cash will be largely dead as consumers and brands seek to minimise contact.  Retailers can expect more self-service, larger aisles, greater use of click & collect, and showrooming ahead of consumers making online purchases.  Destinations will need to demonstrate they are monitoring capacity and policing behaviour, as well as having visible measures in place, such as one-way systems, sanitisers, and staff welfare.  The older the shopper, the more important this is.
  • People will value family and community more: There is an expectation that how far you travel will decrease for everything except visiting family and friends.  The expected return to local high streets and the value placed on brands that are socially responsible will lend itself to a resurgence in valuing community.
  • Value and sustainability will dominate: All groups consider value for money to be top priority above all else when engaging with a brand as one quarter of shoppers expect their personal finances to suffer as a result of the pandemic.

Commenting on the research, Alex McCulloch, cirector of CACI Location Planning Group [pictured], said: “As the lockdown lifts we will find ourselves in a new world, where consumers expect brands to put value and safety first, where stores become both more local, and more alike to showrooms, and ultimately where the physical location of the transaction becomes less relevant.  This is a world where people will be more engaged with the local high street and community, but also a more polarised one between young people living in urban environments and seeking to re-engage, and older shoppers who are more fearful of the future and seeking safety and reassurance.”

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