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Nearly 9 In 10 Scots Will Keep Shopping More Online Despite Covid-19 Restrictions Easing

25th July 2020

Lockdown has led to Scotland becoming a nation of online shoppers - with millions in Scotland and across the UK planning to continue their digital spending spree despite restrictions being lifted.

In fact, 87% of Scots - nearly 9 in 10 - are planning to shop online at the same level, if not more, as restrictions ease, suggesting that Scots are committed to online shopping for the long haul.

The drastic changes in the way we have shopped for the last 4 months since Covid-19 hit were not meant to happen for at least another 5 years, with research revealing a permanent structural change to the e-commerce landscape.

53% of Scots have shopped more online since Covid-19

35% of Scots have been buying groceries online more since Covid-19

25% of Scots have bought more alcohol online since Covid-19

26% of Scots have bought more hygiene products online since Covid-19

25% of Scots have bought more DIY + gardening items online since Covid-19

87% Scots will keep buying items online at the same level as during lockdown, if not more as restrictions ease

62% of Scots will keep buying groceries online at the same level and more as restrictions ease

48% of Scots will buy alcohol online at the same level as lockdown and more as restrictions ease

47% of Scots will keep buying cleaning and hygiene products online as restrictions ease

41% of Scots will continue ordering health food online at the same level as lockdown, if not more

Why our weekly shop may never be the same post Covid-19

New research shows that many of the online shopping habits Brits have adopted over lockdown are here to stay

61% of Brits say they shopped more online during Covid-19 with 89% saying they will continue to shop as much online or even more post-lockdown

The impact on businesses could be huge with the uptick in buying groceries, home and garden products, and hygiene products all set to stick around

Your weekly shop may never be the same according to brand new research which shows lockdown may well have permanently changed Brits' buying habits.

Trading in the shopping trolley for a laptop, the figures show that the huge rise in online shopping during the pandemic will be anything but a flash in the pan, with shoppers keen to continue to log on and check out.

An e-commerce revolution

Covid-19 is ushering in a new age of consumer behaviour according to research which shows the vast majority of Brits plan to stick to their lockdown online buying habits.

Retailers have seen online sales increase dramatically with 61% of Brits admitting to shopping more online during Covid19. This rapid increase in ecommerce is expected to add £5.3bn to UK ecommerce sales in 2020, totalling £78.9bn.

It looks like this rapid e-commerce revolution is here to stay, with 89% saying they will continue to shop online at the same level or even more post-lockdown. An overwhelming 93% of Brits now feel confident about buying items online.

One of the categories that has seen the biggest increase include groceries, with 39% of Brits reporting an increase in online shopping. As much of our attention turned towards our homes, it's no wonder that 29% of Brits reported increased online shopping for home and garden products - contributing to the 41% of Brits who received a home, garden or DIY related product since the Covid-19 crisis.

The research is borne out further by statistics from DS Smith, a leading provider of e-commerce packaging in Europe, with the company seeing a 100% increase in packaging demand for food packaging, flowers, and hygiene products sold online since the start of the pandemic.

The new normal

Even with lockdown easing, DS Smith's research shows that many of these new shopping trends catalysed by Covid-19 are here to stay, with more than half of Brits planning to buy groceries (60%), hygiene products (51%), and home and garden products (54%) online at the same rate or higher in the next six months. Across all surveyed categories - except beauty - men reported a greater uptick than women and said they were more likely to continue with their online shopping habits.

Trying something new

The changes aren't just about volume. Not only are we buying more online, we're also buying in new ways. Nearly a third of Brits said they have signed up to a new shopping website that they hadn't used before lockdown and spending on meal kits and grocery delivery boxes soared by 114% after people were told to stay indoors.

There's also evidence that Brits did pick up new lockdown hobbies, spiking online orders for leisure products. DS Smith's data shows a 60% increase in demand for e-commerce solutions for leisure. One in five (19%) have been embracing their creative side during lockdown by ordering arts and crafts items and Peloton, fitness equipment maker, saw their quarterly revenue soar by 66% since Covid-19 took hold.

As a result of these accelerated changes and to meet new customer demand, businesses large and small have been forced to rapidly initiate or adapt e-commerce offerings - a process which may have taken years without the imperative provided by the global pandemic.

Stefano Rossi, Packaging CEO at DS Smith, said "There has been a seismic shift in the way consumers are shopping and we’ve been using our expertise to support businesses of all sizes with the rapid growth of e-commerce so they can survive and thrive through this uncertain time.​

"What's clear is that as lockdown eases further, these trends aren't likely to fall away. Consumers have found new confidence and convenience in the way they shop, buying a whole range of items online - everything from the family food shop, to toiletries and home and garden products. If companies are not already transforming their business to meet this new age of e-commerce, they risk being left behind.​"

What drives the e-consumer?

Reasons for buying online during the pandemic splits by gender and the generation. Men and younger people prioritise convenience, while women and older generations focus on safety.

However, as a green recovery and building back better becomes a global priority, sustainability is an increasing concern for Brits post-lockdown. Almost a quarter (24%) are more likely to buy online if items are delivered with less packaging or more sustainable packaging, and 21% are more likely to buy online if their products arrive in more recyclable packaging. Of the age groups, those between 25 and 34 were most sustainability conscious and women held this as a higher priority than men (27% of women would rather deliveries had less packaging than compared with 21% of men).

Consumers have different reasons for why they have drastically increased online shopping during Covid-19. There are nuances between genders for choosing to shop online, with 35% of men shopping online more for convenience, whereas 48% of women said safety was the main reason they have been buying items online.

Interestingly, Brits are also mirroring some of their brick and mortar shopping habits online; a third of people have "window shopped" online or kept a wish list during lockdown and over a third of Brits bargain hunt online.

Stefano Rossi, added: "The research shows that greener packaging is a real concern for shoppers and as we help our customers make a green recovery a practical reality and priority through simple measures like adopting sustainable packaging.

"We're keen to help brands and businesses navigate this path and work with them so that they can benefit from sustainable packaging solutions that its very clear their customers desire."

Top e-commerce trends in the UK

Rapid increase in online orders during Covid-19 crisis will add £5.3bn to UK ecommerce sales in 2020

Consumers say this will continue post crisis with nine in ten (89%) confirming they will continue to buy as much as online as they did during Covid-19

Consumers are mirroring offline behaviours (bargain hunting; window shopping) a third of people window shopping or keeping a wishlist online

Consumers used ‘click and collect’ more during the crisis, with 44% of people saying they used it the same or more

Consumers are looking for more sustainable options, with nearly half of respondents (45%) citing the recyclability and sustainability of packaging will be a factor for continuing to shop online post Covid-19

There has been an increase in people using e-commerce to buy food and drink, such as:

Groceries - DS Smith has seen a 100% increase in demand for e-commerce solutions for food

Meal kits - Spending on meal kits and grocery boxes sent to people’s doors soared by 114% in April

Health food - UK retailer Abel & Cole has reported a 25% increase in sales orders

Alcohol - ONS reported that alcohol-focused stores saw a 31.4% surge in volumes

Other key categories which have included an uptick include:

Home and garden products

41% of people have received home and garden deliveries during the crisis

There’s been an increase in clothes orders, specifically for loungewear with a 433% jump in consumer demand

Wellness and hygiene

Sales of vitamin D supplements up 3000% after Public Health England recommendation and vitamin C sales tripled in March

Leisure products (inc. arts and crafts)

One in five (19%) have been embracing their creative side during lockdown by ordering arts and crafts items

DS Smith’s data shows a 60% increase in demand for e-commerce solutions for leisure

Beauty and skincare

John Lewis has seen sales of highlighters and bronzers rise 133 per cent and 165 per cent respectively during lockdown

Home fitness

Peloton, producer of fitness equipment, saw its revenue soar by 66% since Covid-19 began


About DS Smith:

DS Smith is a leading provider of corrugated packaging worldwide, supported by recycling and papermaking operations. Headquartered in London and a member of the FTSE 100, DS Smith focuses on creating innovative sustainable packaging solutions in 34 countries employing around 30,000 people. Using the combined expertise of its divisions – including Packaging, Recycling, Paper – DS Smith works with customers to deliver solutions that reduce complexity and deliver results throughout the supply chain. Its history can be traced back to the box-making businesses started in the 1940s by the Smith family.

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