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Covid-19 to have long-term effect on shift from retail to e-tail

By Huw Hughes

Jul 2, 2020

As the UK reopens and consumers can once again visit physical stores, new research suggests that the lockdown will have long-term effects on the way we shop.

In fact, an estimated 17.2 million British consumers plan to make permanent changes to the way they shop, according to a new report by global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) in partnership with Retail Economics.

This will likely mean consumers who in recent months were forced to shop online will continue to do so post-lockdown. The report forecasts that the pandemic will generate an additional 4.5 billion pounds through online sales in the UK in 2020 despite the squeeze on household finances.

It comes amid concerns over the safety of physical retail spaces. The report, based on a major new survey of 6,000 consumers spanning six European countries, found that people who perceive the risk of Covid-19 to be “very high” are almost four times more likely to shift their long-term shopping habits.

“Retailers are facing a make or break moment. The race is on to transform operating models, product proposition and channel mix to ensure these meet the demands of a new type of shopper. Those that emerge on the other side will be stronger and more adaptable,” Erin Brookes, managing director and head of retail, Europe, A&M, said in a statement.

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