Consumers confidence doubles for High Street return

The number of UK consumers who feel comfortable returning to the shops doubled between May and June, according to a new report from EY.

A survey of 1,000 UK shoppers found that nearly half (48 per cent) are now comfortable shopping in grocery stores, almost double the amount who said the same in the previous month.

As shops begin to re-open in a COVID secure ways, more than a quarter (26 per cent) said they are comfortable with visiting a shopping mall, compared with 15 per cent in a previous survey conducted in May.

As lockdown restrictions ease, the proportion of consumers who would feel comfortable with trying on clothes in store has doubled to 17 per cent, in a boost to High Street fashion retailers.

However, the survey also found that consumers are still keen to minimise exposure due to health and safety concerns. A clear majority (61 per cent) of consumers say they will be more aware and cautious about their physical health and 54 per cent said they are less likely to take risks now.

For those who think the way they shop will change in the coming months, nearly two-thirds (59 per cent) of consumers will look to consolidate shopping trips into less frequent but larger spends.

Despite growing confidence in physical retail, there remains a significant continued shift towards online shopping, with 43 per cent of consumers saying they will shop more online for products previously bought in stores in June, compared to 17 per cent in May. A total pf 64 per cent of consumers say they are visiting physical stores less.

Nevertheless, there is growing optimism about attitudes towards spending on an overall basis, with 17 per cent of consumers saying they intend to spend more on beauty and cosmetics once the outbreak is over while 22 per cent said they intent to spend more on clothing and footwear.

In April, just 13 per cent said they were planning on spending more on big ticket items post-COVID-19, but that figure rose to 18 per cent in June.

The proportion of consumers who report feeling pessimistic about how they will shop in future has decreased from 31 per cent in April to 22 per cent in June.

Silvia Rindone, EY's UK and Ireland retail partner, said: “We have seen a cautious optimism begin to appear, with consumers feeling more comfortable with spending and venturing out to shop - while optimism about the future is up, we’re still not past the pandemic and getting back to ‘normal’ will still take time.”

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