The state of retail – summer 2021, in the UK

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Photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio

As March is fading away and June is slowly arriving, change is in the air in Britain. When you look around, you are likely to see the return of shoppers strolling through the streets. We have known for a while, people were gradually beginning to stop off at their favorite supermarkets. But many shops are still closed, and people are taking no chances. The majority of people are buying what they need online. 

The government predicts the second half of 2021 will bring a rise of around 3% to the retail market. If that happens, it is something to celebrate! That shows the mental shift of a nation of people who are ready to make changes. They have taken the precaution. They have learned from the experts. Now, they are ready to create a new world. They are ready to design a new normal. 

Everything will not go back

When working from home became the only option to save jobs, and businesses, a lot of people put their lives on hold to make it happen. Suddenly small apartments had to include an office that was (somewhat) soundproof. Parents had to rework their schedules so each would have time to do their jobs and care for the children. It soon became evident how much we depended on our coworkers being part of the system and putting things where they go when they are finished with them. With no backup, you had to make sure everything was 100% right. Your deskmate wasn’t going to point out that you are once again confused on “two, too, and to again.”

But, kudos to them. Soon people were making it happen. They saved their jobs and sometimes their companies and even managed to feed their children. By July of 2020, 80% of home-office workers were planning to stay and their companies were singing their praises. 

Photo credit: Ivan Samkov

Now that more data is in, many large companies are leaning toward asking the employee where they would like to work. However, they are making it clear that employees will be required to work in the office at least some of the time. But, it is premature to assume this will be for every company.

Recently, Google’s HR Chief, Fiona Cicconi wrote to company employees.

She announced that Google was bringing forward its timetable of moving people back into the office. She wrote, “As of 1 September, she said, employees wishing to work from home for more than 14 days would have to apply to do so.” The memo also mentioned that employees were expected to “live within commuting distance” of offices. This certainly seems to indicate that Google has plans to bring the crew back in.

Productivity is not the problem

If you believe the issue is one of productivity, we urge you to click this link. This is a report written by voxeu.org showing the productivity in the past year has increased by more than 29% in the UK. 

It’s not over, it’s just different

When everything stops and our world changes, it shocks us. But we are a smart species. We know when one resource dries up, we find another. Yes, we live in a sophisticated world and our luxuries are made for us. But, let’s not forget they are also made by us. Like anything different, we stumble for a while and then we try something new. But no matter what we have to do and no matter how long it takes us to find a way, we will survive. 

We are social beings. We live and survive as a group. We will take care of each other, eat, sleep, reproduce, entertain, and make a pleasant world for ourselves. We require this world for our happiness.

Hope is eternal

A strange thing happened during all of the chaos we were facing. We discovered that we liked some changes. Like, wearing masks. Okay, liked maybe a strong word, but we grew to appreciate having them when we were in a crowd and someone refused to cover his nose or mouth when he coughed and sneezed. It was a relief to reach for an antibacterial wipe to clean the handle of the shopping cart. No one can honestly say they didn’t appreciate the  “stay 2 meters apart” rule when the person behind you was a  greasy guy who had garlic for lunch. Yes, we missed our inconveniences at first but grew to appreciate some of them.

Medical care

The lockdown shot medical care in the United Kingdom a decade into the future. Now standard check-ups and keeping an eye on seniors can be done at home in private. They are comfortable in front of their computer and there is less chance for them to become injured. Billing is usually done online by a clerk also working from home. This is yet another perk for the home-worker. 

Entertainment

Entertainment was a bit harder to adjust to, but adjust we have. In the United Kingdom, we have driven Netflix and streamlined up 70%! That is a healthy hit for the community and E-commerce. 

Having fun is important to us. Need more proof? 

Photo credit: Pintrest

We asked industry giant Lottoland how many people gamble in the United Kingdom today.  Opening in 2013 and operating in more than a dozen countries, Lottoland offers more than 30 lotteries in the UK plus a variety of smaller games and lottos that add up to big winnings. They have a customer base of more than 6-million people. They are the experts. 

Lottoland tells us that 70% of adults in the United Kingdom who are over 18 play the National Lottery on a regular basis. Of those players, 50% play more than once per month. The average number of tickets they buy is three. To put this into a number for you. This is roughly 45-million people playing just the National Lottery. All of Lottolands games are played online. They are licensed, insured, and held to the highest legal standards and regulations.

It seems inevitable that the recovery of the economy will begin this year. Of course, no one knows if this will happen in 2021or even 2025. But we know it will come. Until then, it is important that we understand, we cannot afford to be followers. Now is the time to stand up and be counted. Now is when each voice matters. We don’t have all the answers. But we may all have a little piece of it. So, keep your eyes open for what is good and claim it. That is how we will rebuild. One moment at a time.