Brand loyalty under pressure
Almost three-quarters of consumers (72%) have changed stores, brands or the way they shop since the onset of the pandemic. And many of these changes look set to stay, with 84% of those who tried a new brand planning to stick with it.
Millennial consumers have been most likely to shift their habits, with 85% stating they have tried a new shopping behaviour since Covid began.
Looking ahead, 30% of consumers are optimistic the economy will rebound within two to three months and will grow just as strong, or even stronger, than before the pandemic hit. This compares to 17% in November 2020.
Consumer spending is expected to be highest in travel (55%), dining (53%) and beauty and personal care (38%) when restrictions are lifted or the spread of Covid halts.
Nearly half (47%) of consumers intend to splurge in 2021 to reward themselves, with younger consumers indicating a higher intent to treat themselves.
Despite the high street reopening, 92% of people intend to continue purchasing online, with people most interested in buying vitamins, over the counter medicines, published content and clothing.
Nearly half of online content goes unseen
Nearly half (45%) of online content goes unseen, but this is a vast improvement compared to last year when the figure stood at 69%.
The rate varies across sector, however, with beauty (60%) and clothing (59%) having the highest unseen rate. At the other end of the spectrum, 33% of travel content goes unseen, while the figure stands at 35% for B2B and 36% for financial services.
Looking at specific devices, most unseen content is on mobile (49%), followed by desktop (46%) and tablet (39%).
UK supermarkets enjoy bountiful Easter
UK supermarkets saw big increases in sales of clothing, home and garden goods during the four weeks leading up to Easter and ahead of the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
Clothing sales doubled compared to the same period last year, increasing by 106% to £313m, while sales of homeware were up by 61% and garden goods by 92%, together worth a total £175m.
A grand total of £349m was spent on confectionery, a 34% increase, while grocery sales suffered a 2.9% dip, prompted by the marked 24% decrease in packaged grocery products. That was due to stockpiling by panicked consumers back in March 2020. Cleaning and paper products also suffered a major drop, falling by 31%.
Lidl was the fastest-growing supermarket over the last 12 weeks, up by 16.2%. Iceland (7.8%) and Aldi (7.6%) also performed strongly. Asda (6%) and Morrisons (5.9%) were the fastest-growing supermarkets of the ‘big four’ retailers.
Brits set to spend £3.9bn on the high street this week
Consumers are set to spend £3.9bn on the high street this week as non-essential shops reopen for the first time this year.
When non-essential shops reopened last year consumers spent £3.8bn in the first week. But with longer opening hours and growing confidence among older shoppers, the figure is forecast to be higher this time around.
Clothing, homeware and outdoor stores are all expected to perform well. Sales of outdoor living, including furniture and barbeques (24%), and gardening (51%) have both risen significantly over the past year and growth shows no signs of slowing.
“Last year, footfall was driven by young people but older shoppers, now largely vaccinated, are much more eager to get back to shops this time around,” says Simon Quirk, business unit director at Kantar.
“With large events and bigger social gatherings still off the table, late-night shopping is set to become a new way for people to treat themselves – embracing a more European-style evening out by combining shopping with dinner and drinks afterwards. There will be significant opportunities for retailers that can tap into this experience.”
Brands concerned consumers will decline data consent
The majority of brands (73%) are worried about increasing privacy regulations, with 70% concerned consumers will decline consent to use their data for marketing.
Some brands are beginning to develop direct relationships with publishers as a result, with 48% having developed five or more direct relationships to fuel marketing strategies.
Currently, 39% of brands use publishers’ first-party data in half or more of their campaigns, while a further 41% rely on third-party data to target their audiences.