Christmas shopping took a different turn for people in the UK amid rising uncertainty due to the Omicron variant, the latest research by ShopperVista from IGD has revealed.
Under a third of shoppers (32%) stated that the news of Omicron affected their celebrations and 27% claimed to have avoided making plans altogether due to the possibility of last-minute restrictions.
Rhian Thomas, head of Shopper Insight at IGD, said, “With the news in December creating some uncertainty of how people would be able to spend the festive season, shoppers looked to retailers and food manufacturers to help make the most of their plans, whatever their situation.
“Our pre and post-Christmas research showed some shoppers approaching the season differently in how they conducted their shopping to ensure they didn’t miss out, from the channels they used to the types of products they bought.”
According to the study, 35% of shoppers claimed to start their shopping earlier this year, although 17% left shopping until the last minute due to uncertainty over plans.
Among shoppers who visited convenience stores for some of their Christmas shopping, 45% did so to pick-up last-minute items. It was also the case for 25% of quick commerce shoppers.
Forty-four percent of those who claimed that they were directly impacted by the Omicron variant, shopped online or used click-and-collect services.
IGD has identified key shopper trends for the year 2022, which include a division amongst shoppers based on their financial situation.
Rising financial pressure and taxes across various sectors will impact shopping behaviour, with people who are better of having a very different experience to those who are less affluent.
Shoppers are expected to be more dynamic and will adapt their shopping habits to deal with challenges as they arise.
Non-traditional online retailers are expected to find more takers for a wider range of services.
Quick commerce loyalty schemes are also forecast to rise in 2022, as online shoppers are likely to shop around and switch between retailers.
In 2022, shoppers will be focused on saving time and will look to retailers and suppliers for faster and more convenient solutions for how they shop, the IGD added.
Consumers will also expect retailers and manufacturers to continue to put words into action on sustainability and health.