Non-essential shop reopening: over half of UK consumers feel safe returning to High Street, says Deloitte

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Over half (56%) of consumers feel safe returning to the High Street, up 16 percentage points month-on-month, according to Deloitte.

Two in five (38%) consumers are buying more locally-sourced items right now, even if they cost a little more; while a third (36%) of UK consumers feel safe dining out at a restaurant; but

Just one in four (24%) UK consumers feel safe attending in-person events. This rises to 37% amongst 18-34 year-olds; three times higher than those aged 55+ (12%).

Ian Geddes, head of retail, Deloitte said: “As non-essential shops prepare to reopen on Monday, it is encouraging that the majority of UK consumers have fewer safety concerns in returning to the High Street, compared to last month. Reduced spending opportunities over the last year have improved disposable incomes for some, meaning they are also poised to spend. This pent-up demand is likely to see an enthusiastic return to shops as restrictions gradually ease across the UK.

“After a prolonged period of shop closures, it is also clear that many consumer behaviours formed over the course of the year have now become entrenched. We’ve seen record levels of sales online, with many consumers discovering the convenience of online shopping for the very first time. For some, old habits may not return.”

Andreas Scriven, head of hospitality and leisure, Deloitte: “With the easing of lockdown measures on hospitality, many consumers will be looking forward to meeting friends and family in beer gardens and sharing a meal outdoors from next week. Longer-term though, consumers are likely to make a gradual return to other leisure activities, like traveling or mingling among large groups. It remains to be seen how long it will take to return to pre-pandemic levels.

“Whilst many leisure experiences are harder to replicate at home or virtually, wider behavioural shifts are more systemic and likely to stay with some degree of permanency, such as working, cooking and streaming from home.”