Retailers urged to get ready for spring shopping surge

British retailers should prepare for a surge of spending as the economy begins to recover in spring, according to a report by CACI.

The research revealed that all demographic groups are feeling optimistic about the economy now there is a vaccination programme, with 86 per cent of consumers eager to get the vaccine.

The study also found that 74 per cent of consumers’ finances are either unchanged or have actually improved as a result of the pandemic, and those on reduced salaries have halved since the first lockdown.

The report said that consumers are more confident and in much better financial positions compared to the first lockdown “for the most part,” with a large section of the population having saved money during the pandemic.

Although the shift to online shopping will remain, when consumers do visit stores the average basket size is likely to increase, with 22 per cent of those surveyed saying they would spend more on the High Street on clothing, while 28 per cent would increase spending on food and beverage in store.

The report said that engaging physical retail space will “never return to sole in-store transactions for many categories” and that it is key to ensure that “online and in store work in tandem to offer consumers a seamless experience.”

The research also explored changing consumer behaviour over the past year, identifying key areas for retailers to consider when preparing for a potential shopping surge.

In stores, consumers want to see active social distancing and more personal space.

Customers also want a focus on brand ethics and for retailers to be both transparent and socially concious.

The report also advised that reopening, marketing and engagement plans need to adapt to new consumer attitudes.

It said that with a shift to local communities, “re-opening plans should be adjusted for where customers will be, not where your locations necessarily are.”

The research also urges retailers to plan spaces to be different with a focus on staff and customer safety, for example creating a format that works better for Click & Collect rather than browsing.

The study also suggests that it is likely that retailers will have new customer groups using their digital channels and that to respond to this companies must test and capture feedback to make sure the channels suit the needs of these new groups.

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