Global survey reveals that Phygital shopping is here to stay but most consumers still want the in-store experience
In countries where there are no longer any lockdowns, the retail sector has been able to re-open. Most have returned to pre-CoVid trading hours and many no longer need to worry about how many people they have in store at one time.
However, the return of shoppers has not been as fast as many retailers had hoped for. There is no doubt that people were planning to return to shopping in-store.
Mandoe Media, a global digital signage and display advertising player, surveyed large groups of consumers in the UK, USA, and Australia. That comprehensive survey suggests that most consumers were looking forward to getting back to shopping in Malls, street-based stores, and markets.
Fifty-four percent of those surveyed said that they wanted to shop in physical stores and outlets as much, if not more than they used to before the pandemic. They were also planning to start once again spending more in-store than they did online, 58% said that they tended to spend more in-store, per transaction.
The survey also revealed that some sectors would see more of their consumers returning to shopping mainly in-store than others. Especially for groceries and apparel.
Across the three countries, most people said that they wanted to return to buying their groceries in-store, 74%. Although only 5% said that they enjoyed the experience of shopping in-store.
Most said they preferred to see what they were buying first-hand and about 13% of them said that they had found waiting for deliveries to be inconvenient. With a further 7% not wanting to pay the delivery fee.
However, even stores that are operating in sectors like this are still facing stiff competition from online retailers. According to McKinsey, in the USA, the online grocery sector has gone from being very niche, taking around 3 or 4% of the market in 2019, to having around a 13% share by March 2021. A level that has been sustained since, despite lockdown restrictions being lifted in most states for many months now.
Overall, US shoppers are pleased with the experience they had when buying groceries online. Interestingly, it is the older demographic that have mainly stuck with shopping for food online. In particular, the baby boomer generation.
Those people, in the USA, that are still going to grocery stores are not going so often. The fact that they are buying more on each trip makes attracting and retaining customers is very lucrative.
Consumers are demanding change from in-store retailers
Now that the idea of shopping online no longer holds any fears for most consumers, competition is even fiercer than it was pre-pandemic. In addition, they are now expecting more from in-store retailers, as was made clear by the Mandoe Media retail consumer survey.
It is hard to say what will happen in the long term. In countries, like Australia, Argentina, and others, there were several long lockdowns. Melbourne’s five million residents spent 262 days between March 2020 and October 2021 under some sort of lockdown. A situation that has had a huge impact on their profitability, which means that money to invest in new initiatives to satisfy the new expectations of consumers is in short supply. Those firms that put together strong business cases are the ones that will receive the finance they need to purchase the new technology they need to adapt.