90% of shoppers plan to return to high streets when shops re-open today but 43% will be shopping less than pre-Covid, survey shows

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New research conducted by social media management platform, Maybe has found that 90% of consumers plan to return to their high streets when shops re-open today. 

The survey, which had 2,000 respondents, revealed that while around 47% of shoppers are nervous about shopping, 43% say that they will shop as often as they did pre-COVID-19. 7.5% will embrace retailers re-opening and shop more than they did before the pandemic struck. 

On the other hand, more than a third (35%) plan to shop online more than they did pre-lockdown.

Polly Barnfield, the CEO of Maybe, commented: “Britain’s retailers should feel confident that despite the on-going concerns surrounding Covid, the vast majority of shoppers are ready to get back to high streets and start spending again. Equally, retailers should be aware of what consumers expect from them to make their shopping experience as reassuring and as safe as possible.

“Independent retailers do need to be aware of the digital gap that has opened up during lockdown. We track the amount of high street businesses that are active on social media in every UK high street and the shift in behaviour has been telling. 

“Since lockdown the number of independent high street businesses active on social media has dropped to only 6 per cent, while during the same time consumers use of social media has increased by 40%.”

When asked what would entice them back to shops, 53% of consumers want retailers to focus on social distancing measures, while 21% of those surveyed feel that stores should prioritise limiting shopper numbers. 

Just under two-thirds (64%) flagged long queues as their biggest barrier to shopping at all, while 23% are concerned about social distancing measures not being followed.

When asked what type of retailers respondents missed the most, restaurants and cafes were top with 42% while for 30% it was hair and beauty salons.

Meanwhile, Independents’ Day UK – a campaign that encourages shoppers across the UK to use small shops on 4 July each year, is calling on the public to ‘Pledge a Pound’ to a small retailer. 

Howard Robinson, a spokesperson for the campaign, said: “Hundreds of thousands of small retailers will re-open their doors just in time for this year’s Independents’ Day and we’re calling on shoppers to pledge at least one pound’s worth of shopping to an indie in the run-up to and on Saturday 4 July.

“Whether it’s a morning paper or a pint of milk – if all of us go out of our way to support our local shops, we can make a huge difference to a sector that has been hit hard by the Covid-19 lockdown. Independents bring colour, choice and character to our high streets, they provide jobs and invaluable services to communities – and now more than ever, it really is a case of use them, or lose them. We’re at a critical time.”