In-store shopping anxiety continues to ease

UK consumers have grown more comfortable with returning to the shops, according to the latest EY Future Consumer Index, which revealed that comfort levels with traditional shopping behaviours have all more than doubled since May.

The percentage of consumers comfortable going to a shopping mall has risen from 15 per cent in May to 36 per cent in July, and those comfortable trying on clothes has risen from eight per cent to 19 per cent.

Similarly, in May a quarter of UK consumers said they felt comfortable shopping in a grocery store, a figure which rose to 56 per cent last month.

The survey of over 1,000 UK consumers found that behaviour is changing as the pandemic progresses. Over the longer term, 56 per cent intend to shop less frequently, but spend more when they do shop, while 69 per cent said they will be more mindful of hygiene and sanitation when shopping in person.

Silvia Rindone, EY UK and Ireland's retail partner, said that retailers have worked hard to ensure that a variety of measures are in place to enable a safe shopping experience. "This approach, taken together with bolstered online offerings, is clearly working, as the latest ONS figures show retail sales volumes have returned to pre-pandemic levels.”

As the crisis has progressed, consumer purchasing priorities have changed, with an increased focus on value and price. Half of consumers said price is now a more important consideration than it was a month ago.

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