COVID-19: Six million Brits to ditch in-store for online shopping

One in 10 Brits say they will only shop online until a vaccine for COVID-19 is found. (rupixen.com/Unsplash)

Nearly one in 10, or six million, Brits will avoid shopping on the high street in the future as a result of coronavirus, according to new research.

In a survey of 2,000 UK adults by personal finance site Finder, a third (34%) of respondents said they will be willing to return to in-store shopping only when certain requirements are met.

For one in 10 (11%) — equating to 5.9 million people across the UK — this would be a vaccine that prevents infection from COVID-19, while a further 13% will only return to the shops when there is a proven treatment for the virus. 

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Not everyone is planning to stay away from the high street though, as four in 10 (42%) shoppers said they are happy to return as soon as retail stores open with social distancing measures in place on 15 June.

Online shopping has seen a notable rise during lockdown, with recent Finder research showing the UK’s most popular fashion sites experienced a 75% surge in visitors in April 2020 compared to the same month in 2019.

This has been aided by the large number of shoppers who are using discount codes when they shop. Almost three quarters (73%) already use them and two in five (43%) Brits plan to use them more over the next 12 months for their fashion, sport and beauty purchases among other things. 

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“It’s understandable that consumers may be reluctant to visit shops in person for the foreseeable future due to fears surrounding the transmission of coronavirus,” said Georgia-Rose Johnson, shopping specialist at Finder.

As well as being safer, online shopping also enables consumers to easily compare discount codes and find the best deal on products, which is even more important to customers during times of uncertainty and financial hardship.”

She added: “Although reopening is good news for the high street, it could be extremely expensive for retailer — to try to combat the drop in footfall and to compete with online retailers, physical stores will likely need to launch sales and discount products.

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“In addition, amendments to shops will have to be made to meet social-distancing measures which will come at a cost.”