Shopping Reinvented: The Impact of Covid-19 on UK Retail & E-Commerce – Part 4

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Utku Tansel, beyond being one of the nicest people I know, is also one of the smartest. Long experienced in researching and analyzing the consumer products industry, Utku has provided us with this look at the Covid-19 and its impact on the United Kingdom’s retail sector. His observations have value not only for those working in the U.K. but also in any country experiencing the impact that governmental preventative measures have on the health of the private sector economy. Below is part 4 of Utku’s 4 part series:

By Utku Tansel  LLB, MBA


The legacy of shifting consumer priorities

Since the start of the pandemic, consumer habits have changed irrevocably in the UK meaning there will be long-lasting behavioural and mindset changes impacting buying patterns. While technology including AI, AR and VR will play a big part in the next generation retail innovation, heritage will also be important.

The seismic shift towards online shopping will be permanent just as it was the case in the aftermath of the SARS and MERS outbreaks in Asia. COVID-19 has now also brought a brand new audience, older generations who previously shied away from shopping online. Whilst delivery, click-and-collect and contactless payments will continue to offer different models of convenience, platforms will seek ways to improve the social commerce process.

Localism is here to stay. Confined locally, Brits have now seen the value in shopping locally while becoming more aware and engaged with their communities. The growing realisation of the need to support small businesses will only drive this trend further. For some, ethicality and sustainability will still resonate. 

The future of retail requires an understanding of the new consumer. For them, a shopping day out will continue to be a leisure activity and it will increasingly be a choice rather than a necessity. Retailers will need to be more agile, create a seamless shopping experience and invest in online services. Overall, the retail landscape will be leaner, the battle for consumer attention will be fierce and even if the economy recovers, consumers will remain value conscious.