Secret consumer COVID shopping habits

Service Integrity, a leading mystery shopping and research company, published COVID-19 nationwide retail survey results. The study was conducted to answer the questions many retailers are asking about new world buying behaviours.

How have buying habits changed?

Of the 680 respondents, only 18% of people said COVID-19 would not affect their buying habits but 41% said the changes would be at significant or change their habits completely. The results are similar for men and women, but 29% of young people (18-25) believe their buying habits will change completely, whereas only 12% of the 50+ group believe their buying habits will change completely.

Are people confident in crowded locations?

62% of people are not confident in crowded locations. There is a significant difference between men and women, 55% of men are not confident whereas 65% of women are not comfortable in crowded locations. The least confident people are those in states where COVID flareups have occurred with 89% of Tasmanians and 67% of Victorians not confident but only 54% of people in WA lack confidence in crowded spaces.

The big spenders have gone online

Lack of confidence and restrictions has changed online buying habits significantly. 36% of people have diverted some spending to online. The move is most pronounced for people earning over $150,000 per year where 46% of respondents have diverted to online. Again, the states with the COVID-19 flareups have the biggest diversion to online with 44% of Tasmanians and 41% of Victorians diverting online, but only 18% of South Australians and 29% of West Australians diverting online.

Where to in the future?

Overall, 37% of people will now shop more online with 52% of those earning over $150,000 per year and only 33% of those earning under $50,000 per year increasing online spend. Unsurprisingly, 64% of those under 25 years of age will increase their online spending but 30% of the over 50s choosing to do so. “A 30% increase in online spending is a massive move in shopping habits” Steven Di Pietro, Director Service Integrity Mystery Shopping, says.

What does this mean?

The impact on future retailing is seismic. Across all sectors the change will affect at least 30% of people, whether it be by age, income, gender or even location. Most importantly, if retailers want to maintain their retail stores against this force, they must give consumers confidence that public places will be safe.

Service Integrity employs over 30,000 mystery shoppers throughout Australia and has worked with Australia’s largest retail brands since 2003.

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