UK employees favour a fully flexible working model
Almost nine in 10 (89%) UK employees prefer a fully flexible approach to returning to work, giving workers the choice to work remotely whenever they wish.
The next most popular working approach is a 3:2 working model (75%), while the least favoured option would be to work full time from the office after the pandemic (31%).
But those entering the workforce for the first time say they would like to come into the office (68%), as do those who have been furloughed at least once (59%).
Those surveyed are looking forward to seeing colleagues face-to-face (48%), getting out of the house (41%), better collaboration with colleagues (34%), and feeling less lonely (20%).
Commuting is what concerns people most (38%), followed by offices being Covid secure (31%) and the financial costs of travel and lunches (29%).
Meanwhile, four in five believe employers should offer mental wellness initiatives on return to the office. Over two-thirds (68%) expect to see dedicated spaces and infrastructure for communicating with those working remotely within the next two to three years.
Marketers don’t think IT understands their needs
There is increasing friction between marketing and IT teams, with 84% of marketers saying they wish IT understood their needs better. A similar number (81%) of IT professionals say the same of the marketers they work with.
Nearly three-quarters of marketers (71%) admit the marketing department can be a bottleneck when it comes to delivering customer experience.
Part of the problem, according to 41% of marketing and IT professionals, is the lack of data needed to deliver personalised content to customers.
Of those who do have data to personalise customer experiences, 38% say it doesn’t deliver what they need and 36% don’t have a clear view on what content to personalise. Almost a third (32%) say they don’t have a content strategy that enables personalisation.
Source: Wunderman Thompson Technology/Sitecore
Footfall steadily recovers as restrictions ease
Footfall across the UK’s high streets, retail parks and shopping centres improved in May as restrictions eased further, but numbers are still considerably lower than two years ago as people remain cautious.
Total UK footfall declined by 27.7% last month compared to the same period in 2019, but this figure is 12.3 percentage points higher than in April.
Footfall on high streets dropped by 34.6% in May compared to two years ago, while shopping centre footfall declined by 41.3%. Retail parks saw a 19.9% drop compared to 2019.
Helen Dickinson, CEO of British Retail Consortium, says: “Footfall levels are still significantly down on two years ago. Many high streets have an increasing number of vacant shops and many retailers still face significant and mounting debts, with £2.9bn in unpaid rents built up over the pandemic.
“The Government should ringfence these lockdown rent debts to provide the breathing space for footfall and cash flows to recover, and enable landlords and tenants to work on equitable and long-term solutions for the future and avert terminal decline in many communities.”
Source: British Retail Consortium/Sensormatic IQ
Consumers seek personalised shopping experiences
More than two-thirds of UK consumers (43%) believe personalisation is a basic requirement of online shopping.
The majority (60%) say they are more likely to become repeat buyers after a personalised shopping experience, that’s up from 44% who said the same thing in 2017.
More than a third (37%) say they will shop with a brand again – even if it is cheaper or more convenient elsewhere – if the customer experience is good.
Meanwhile, 73% of British consumers expect a personal and consistent customer experience across multiple channels, both physical and digital.
Source: Twilio Segment
UK FMCG sales decline as hospitality reopens
Total retail till sales fell 2.7%, while grocery sales decreased by 6.7%, during the first four weeks since the hospitality sector reopened in the UK.
Despite the fall in grocery sales, food retail sales increased almost 11% compared to the same period in 2019, with shoppers spending £9.1bn over the four weeks to 22 May.
However, with more frequent visits, spend per visit has fallen to £17.40 from £21.50 in May 2020. Shoppers appear to also be spending more at travel outlets and ‘food to go’ establishments.
In the last 12 weeks Lidl (+17.3%), Aldi (+9.5%) and M&S (+7.6%) led growth, while Sainsbury (+0.4%) was the fastest-growing retailer out of the ‘big four’ supermarkets, just ahead of Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.
NielsenIQ UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins says: “Despite lockdown restrictions easing, it is evident that online grocery remains popular with British consumers, with almost one in three households still choosing to shop online. This suggests that the shift of spend to online that we saw over the last year is now a more permanent fixture for many and part of regular grocery shopping routines.”