The Future of Shopping
This year has challenged nearly all aspects of our daily lives. Jobs, commutes, social interactions; all are radically different from a year ago. Everything, from schooling to travel to stepping out to buy a tube of toothpaste, has been reshaped. The inevitable question we ask is whether this is permanent.
There is no question that there have been monumental changes when it comes to shopping behavior. For example, the massive shift to online shopping and buying (due to stores being closed) is significant and real. But the question is whether it’s permanent? Or will we return to pre-COVID behaviors, having the confidence to re-emerge and return to our favorite stores with the same enthusiasm we previously had?
The following information looks to answer that very question. While many assumptions and predictions have been proposed, the future of retail is not entirely clear. But let’s be honest, it has never been. Change is the constant, and this pandemic has thrown yet another curveball at this dynamic industry.
In this trend report, Bergmeyer sets out to provide an informed perspective from those who dictate the industry’s future: the consumer.Download our new Future of Shopping trend report below:
Architecture and design collaborative Bergmeyer released its 2020 Future of Shopping Trend Report. Bergmeyer’s retail design experts conducted a nationwide survey focused on identifying consumer’s sentiments on shopping, structuring the survey to first understand pre-COVID shopping behavior through a series of closed and open-ended questions, followed by post-COVID questions pointedly asking how their shopping behaviors had changed. The report provides first-hand insights for the retail industry to better understand changes in consumer behavior before and after the height of the pandemic.
Led by Bergmeyer’s Design Practice Leader, Eric Kuhn, the survey’s cross-section of respondents included a total of nearly 1000 respondents ranging from 18-75 years of age across 5 regional zones coast to coast. There were an even cross-section of male-to-female participants with income brackets ranging from $20,000 – $200,000.
“This year has challenged nearly all aspects of our daily lives, and the inevitable question we ask is whether this is permanent,” says Kuhn. “There is no question that when it comes to shopping behavior (which is the focus of our search), there have been monumental changes, including a massive shift to online shopping. In this report we set out to provide an informed perspective from those who dictate the future of the retail industry: the consumer.”
Bergmeyer first established a pre-pandemic baseline, allowing their team to understand the sample group’s attitude toward shopping in a very broad way which surprisingly showed universal consistencies across all demographics.
Frequency of shopping: 70% of respondents said 1-3 times per week, both in store and online
How they shop: 40% both in-store and online, 30% in-store, 20% online
Top retail segments in-store: 50% of respondents said groceries, 30% said apparel
Top retail segments online: 30% said movies/music/games, 20% said electronics/apparel
Top driver in-store: touch and feel/immediate fulfillment
Top driver online: Convenience
When asked what inhibits in-store shopping there were telling statistics from respondents, with 40% sighting crowds as the resounding inhibitor, and a distant 15% sighting limited selection.
To learn how the pandemic has affected consumer shopping habits, Bergmeyer formulated a series of questions that align with the pre-COVID survey while adding more direct questions to gauge the current state of mind, and expectations for the future. Kuhn notes that “although there is legitimate concern and anxiety about where we stand in getting past this crisis, we see positives that will eventually surface from this global event.”
When asked if they see their in-store shopping habits changing:
42% of respondents said “somewhat”
30% said “not a great deal”
10% said “not at all”
Interestingly by age Bergmeyer found the data break out as such:
30-50 years of age: somewhat/significantly
50+ years of age: not a great deal/not at all
While the general response was positive, Bergmeyer found clear differences as it pertains to the age groups that prohibit blanket statements that consumers expect to return to normal. The majority of respondents (35%) acknowledge they are somewhat apprehensive returning to non-essential shopping, followed by 20% being strongly apprehensive. A deeper dive into specific apprehensions found:
60% of respondents sited crowds as the main driver
25% sited cleanliness of the space
10% sited the size of the space
Interestingly, those apprehensions all relate to each other, in that consumers want to be assured any space they go into will have well-executed protocols that comply with CDC standards and are clearly communicated and visually apparent.
When respondents were asked what it would take for retailers to instill this confidence:
35% of respondents sited limiting crowds
25% sited clearly communicated protocols
20% sited visually seeing enforcement or compliance to established protocols
The Future of Shopping Trend Report also offers retailers and businesses tactics and expert recommendations from Bergmeyer’s retail design team, as well as future indicators on what consumers feel it will take to return to “the way things were,” as well as how long they think it will be before shopping is “back to normal.”
“While not always readily apparent, the survey results point to rays of hope for a return to pre-pandemic behavior or at a minimum the emergence of acceptable practices that will give people the confidence to shop again in person,” says Kuhn. “Retailers will need to meet customers where they feel comfortable engaging, and brands will need to use this moment to build stronger connections with customers.”
“We see adaptive design is more critical than ever, and the ability for businesses to quickly implement these tactics is key to instilling confidence in the shopper.”
To view and/or download Bergmeyer’s full trend report, please visit https://www.bergmeyer.com/trending/the-future-of-shopping. To learn more about Bergmeyer and its award-winning design work, please visit www.bergmeyer.com.
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