As much as we’re all sick of hearing about it, the coronavirus pandemic has absolutely turned everything upside down and changed almost every aspect of our lives. Lockdown was the biggest period of upheaval in modern history, with normal day-to-day life being put on hold. Seeing shops close and the retail sector effectively mothballed for a few months was strange, but it led to a series of new retail trends in the UK throughout 2020.
Some are predictable considering the nature of lockdown, but some are surprising; here’s our list of some interesting retails trends we’ve seen in 2020.
Online retail sees its biggest boom ever
Seeing as people were restricted largely to their homes for months, it’s no surprise that for the first time ever, a THIRD of all UK retail sales took place online in May 2020. Online sales rose by 19.7% in May, with a record proportion of food sales also taking place online!
Shoppers spending less
With many families on furlough or finding themselves out of work, people started to pinch the pennies; across all channels, shoppers spent 9.7% less in May 2020 than in May 2019, with sales dropping by 10.4% in March 2020 to May 2020 compared to the previous three months. Arecent report by McKinsey stated that 44% of UK adults agree “that there’s a need to watch every pound spent” at the moment — it’s definitely reflected in the stats!
A boost for the DIY sector
With people off work and looking for things to keep them busy, many turned to DIY. Some of the big DIY retailers have seen a boom, with Toolstation’s sales rising by more than a third during the first half of 2020 as a result of lockdown! It’s a trend seen across other retailers like Screwfix, though some DIY retailers reliant on their stores such as B&Q have seen sales drop.
We all see the benefits in supporting our local shops, but with many of the big retailers closed, people have turned to local outlets instead, both to support their community and for convenience. A Mintel poll suggests 55% of people have been using local businesses more since the pandemic began.
Clothes sales plummet – with some exceptions
Research firm GlobalData has anticipated that the UK clothing and footwear spend will fall by £11.1-BILLION in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Yet despite that, many retailers have reported that sales of loungewear and pyjamas have held steady or even increased as people want to get comfier at home!
Exercise gear sales on the rise
During lockdown, 44% of us were doing exercise routines at home like Joe Wicks’ morning workouts. That’s seen gym gear and equipment sales rise for John Lewis, who saw a 72% rise in sport shoes sales, 315% rise in yoga and pilates equipment sales and a 496% surge in gym equipment sales!
Contactless becomes essential
According to a Shekel survey, 87% of shoppers would prefer to shop in stores that offer contactless or automatic payment; convenience has always made contactless popular, but the rise in hygiene awareness makes contactless more popular than ever before.
Sales of flour flourish – and then fall back again
During the height of the pandemic, a rise in home baking saw huge flour shortages across the country as grocery sales of flour were up 92% in March! The flour industry worked around the clock to meet demand but as more of us go back to work, it seems the demand has levelled off.
Retro foods make a comeback
We’ve all needed some simple comforts during the pandemic and food is one of them! We’ve turned back to some traditional classics, with a massive 738% rise in sales of dried trifle, a 336% increase in custard powder, while tinned pineapple slices (up 343%), canned ham (up 179%) and ready made mashed potato sales rocketed according to The Co-op.
Vegan trend accelerates too
Around a quarter of Brits between 21 to 30 have said the pandemic has made a vegan diet more appealing, with 12% of all Brits now considering cutting out all animal products. 23% of us are consuming more fruit and veg since the start of the pandemic too — hopefully all good for the waistline!
Abacus Valuers has worked with retailers for more than 30 years. If you could use some help through some of the biggest changes the retail sector has ever seen, give our team a call on 01637 874609.