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Online retail boom set to continue post-pandemic

Lauretta Roberts
27 April 2021

The high street stores may now be open but new research suggests that the online retail boom will continue in the post-pandemic landscape.

Research from customer experience expert MullenLowe Profero reveals that 56% of online shoppers expect to continue buying online just as often as they do now.

An additional 56% say they bought more often online during the pandemic than they used to and 41% say they have shopped online more regularly during the pandemic.

Marketplaces such as Amazon have become the default destination for 53% of online shoppers.

The "Ecommerce in the Aftermath" report also shows how the online retail market experienced five years of growth in the space of 12 months.

Projections from the Office of National Statistics, created pre-pandemic, predicted that online would reach around 28% of total retail sales in 2025 (in 2019 it stood at 19.2%). In fact that projected figure was achieved in 2020.

Fashion shoppers surveyed by MullenLowe Profero largely expected to continue to buy online with 56% saying they had bought clothes online more often than usual during the pandemic with the same figure saying they expected to continue to buy online just as often.

One in three fashion shoppers, however, said they hoped to return to their pre-pandemic shopping behaviours. Interestingly 12% of those buying clothes during the pandemic did so online for the first time.

Rowan Kisby, Strategy Director at MullenLowe Profero, said: “The pandemic has caused a seismic shift in all our behaviours, but perhaps none more so than in the field of e-commerce.

"The sector has seen five years of growth in just 12 months and the shift to online shopping is here to stay: 71% of UK online shoppers who shopped online for the first time during the pandemic will continue to shop online in the post-pandemic world.

"Convenience is critical to keep this new wave of online consumers that have been won over by the surprising ease of e-commerce, and will be essential to guarantee customer satisfaction. When thinking about convenience, we need to look at the experience as a whole, from ease of item discovery right through to the last mile.”

MullenLowe Profero surveyed 3,000 UK consumers in February 2021 through Censuswide; the Ecommerce in the Aftermath report can be downloaded here.

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