COVID-19 is giving us new appreciation for physical shops

Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

By Philippine Canadian Inquirer

The outlook for high street stores seems gloomy. Social distancing measures and lockdowns have driven people to shop online, leading to shop closures and a boom for online retailers such as Amazon. Before the pandemic, online shopping was a growing trend – and it’s possible that COVID-19 is the tipping point that will change how we shop for good.

However, it’s clear that people still value physical shops. Globally, after the first round of lockdowns in 2020, consumers flocked to the shops. At the Bicester Village shopping outlet in England, crowds were so great that people petitioned for shops to be closed.

A change of scene
The pandemic has caused people to spend much more time at home – and to appreciate a change of scene, which a trip to the shops can provide. Many may also cherish the social aspect of going shopping, especially after having been isolated for a period of time. Research carried out before the pandemic suggested that interactions with in-store salespeople could satisfy some of the social needs of consumers who experience loneliness.

COVID-19 has also led people to new kinds of shopping experience. They have explored different types of shops, especially smaller ones that are local to where they live or work. In one survey of British adults, 70% of people shopping locally during the pandemic said they would continue to do so once it was over.


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