'Local' Shopping Habits Likely To Persist Well Into The Future, Study Finds

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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'Local' Shopping Habits Likely To Persist Well Into The Future, Study Finds

British consumers are likely to retain 'local' shopping habits beyond the pandemic, with more than half (53%) having shopped more locally in the past year, a new study by Lumina Intelligence has found.

The Future of Convenience Report 2021 found that a number of legacy trends in terms of shopping behaviour are likely to persist well into this year, and beyond, including among them a 'suburban migration', driven by more consumers being stuck at home.

This in turn led to greater appreciation of local businesses, the study found, with 78% of respondents saying it’s either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to support local suppliers and retailers; 74% saying it’s either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to support businesses who give back to the community; and 42% saying that they will continue to shop locally in the future.

“Disrupted global supply chains and trade restrictions for businesses made local buying both a necessity and desire in 2020. This behaviour is expected to continue, with most consumers defining 'local' as 'made in the UK' – a trend that will be boosted by Brexit," said Alice Dolling, senior insight manager at Lumina Intelligence.

“Convenience store retailers are perfectly positioned to capitalise on the demand for shopping locally. Community involvement is pivotal in building loyalty and awareness. In fact, positive community involvement directly correlates with likelihood to recommend a store.”


On-Demand Convenience

Another legacy trend is the growth of 'on-demand convenience', which was largely driven by the likes of Just Eat and Deliveroo, but also has a presence in convenience stores, such as with the development of meal kits, fresh food deliveries and subscription packages.

According to the study, some 18% of consumers have changed their primary method of grocery shopping to online in the past year; 38% of consumers are not aware of convenience store delivery, however 48% would use it; and 27% would replace a takeaway with delivery from a convenience store.

"Nearly one-in-five shoppers changed their primary method of grocery shopping to online, highlighting the opportunity available," says Dolling. "As demand increases, convenience stores have a great opportunity to drive greater basket spend and expand the potential catchment area of their store by offering delivery. Not only that, delivery provides another avenue to compete with foodservice operators in the ‘takeaway’ market.”

Price Points

During 2020, the UK entered recession for the first time in more than a decade, while unemployment rates have also soared, meaning the economic impact of the pandemic is likely to be felt for many years.


According to Lumina Intelligence, this is likely to lead to shoppers demonstrating savvier shopping behaviour in the future, even when shopping locally – 61% are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ aware of product prices in convenience stores, its survey found.

Elsewhere, 46% either ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that they are trying to reduce their food and drink spend, while 66% either ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that they are more careful with what they spend money on than before lockdown began.

“In April 2020, 37% of consumers said they were visiting their local convenience store more often, driven by government advice to ‘stay local’," said Dolling. "The big challenge for retailers in 2021 will be to retain these shoppers. With the UK entering its first recession in 11 years, consumers will be more aware of their spending and will be engaging in price comparisons.

"Retailers and suppliers will inevitably have to be reactive with promotions, but also offer loyalty schemes to gain and retain shopper custom.”

© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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