Three quarters of UK shoppers worried about contracting Covid-19 in stores, study finds


Rotageek, a London-based leader in workforce management solutions, has announced the results of its retail survey, highlighting that there is a real concern among primary grocery shoppers as well as retail employees around contracting Covid-19 in stores. The Ipsos-run survey with primary shoppers revealed that 74% are worried about contracting the virus in stores, while over half of retail staff (56%) were worried about contracting Covid-19 at their place of work.

With the UK’s retail sector under immense financial pressures, both customers and retail staff are adding to the concerns of an industry undergoing profound transformation. The survey with primary shoppers also revealed that 86% are worried about the right social distancing measures being in place, and sensible queueing and check-out procedures catered for.

Although the sharp rise in online delivery has pushed retailers to reconsider their usual models, nearly 4 out of 5 shoppers were still doing their shopping in physical stores, with 20% doing so because they prefer the customer experience within a high street retail outlet.

“The high level of physical store use, and the preference for bricks-and-mortar retail, is really positive for the recovery of UK retail, which is such an important economic driver,” and says CEO of Rotageek, Chris McCullough. “Those concerned about contracting coronavirus in stores can, in the main, be reassured by the huge effort retailers have made to implement physical barriers, queuing procedures and digital solutions to protect shoppers and staff.”

A survey of retail employees using Rotageek’s workforce management platform also showed that while over half of retail staff (56%) surveyed were worried about contracting Covid-19 at their place of work, they too felt retailers were doing their bit to protect their safety. 4 in 5 felt their employer had invested in the right amount of staff, and 77% believed the right social distancing measures were in place.

The UK’s retail workforce also seems pragmatic about how they can support the retail industry’s transformation. While 67% were worried about their own job security, at least 3 out of 5 retail workers were willing to retrain in another role, as a delivery driver or security professional, to be able to retain their job.

“The country’s retailers and their workforce are demonstrating resilience and flexibility in the face of a crisis,” continues McCullough. “Covid-19 has driven an immediate need for retailers and staff to be flexible in working practices and to focus on employee wellbeing. The retailers that are going to flourish in the long term are the ones that invest in digital and physical transformation, and those that put their employees first.”

The State of Retail in a Covid-19 World white paper is available for download here.

The Ipsos-run survey of 100 UK primary shoppers was conducted in June 2020.

The survey of 230 UK retail employees was conducted via Rotageek’s workforce management platform.