Shoppers in the UK are the least likely to go to malls and stores to buy gifts this holiday season. Only 18% percent of consumers in the region plan to shop in stores, a preference that will also be low among German consumers (19%). On the other hand, consumers in Spain (40%) and Italy (32%) are the most likely to visit shops to buy all their gifts and may be more influenced by retail events and in-store incentives, according to Five9, who today released its 2021 Customer Service Index: Retail and eCommerce Edition. The report is designed to help businesses anticipate consumer shopping behaviour and trends ahead of the holiday season.
The report also found that Covid-19 has impacted UK shopping behaviour more that the rest of the world. Since the outbreak, close to half (46%) of UK shoppers are doing more than 75% of their shopping online, compared to the global average of 21%.
When consumers were asked how likely they are to continue to buy items they purchased online for the first time in the past year, over three quarters (78%) of UK respondents are either extremely likely or somewhat likely to purchase online, compared to 68% globally.
Brian Atkinson, Vice President and general manager EMEA Five9 said: “Looking specifically at the UK, the report signals that UK shoppers are much less inclined to shop in stores and when given the option to purchase online, they will. There could be a number of factors driving this preference. But looking at our previous research, where the UK was crowned the most unforgiving country when it comes to customer service, it could be that UK retailers are falling short when it comes to offering a great instore experience. This could be what is contributing to the decline in footfall we are seeing in the UK on a year-by-year basis.”
While the UK stood out in terms of online shopping, the report highlighted global trends for retailers to consider. Of those surveyed, the youngest group (18–29-year-olds) are the most likely to shop in stores and wait for holiday sales to buy gifts.
One in three 18–29-year-olds begin their shopping on Black Friday, while the largest portion of overall survey respondents purchase gifts throughout the year as they see them on sale (31%). This data suggests that the younger generation can be swayed by last-minute deals.
Nearly half (43%) of surveyed consumers are now doing most of their shopping online year-round (up from 22% pre-pandemic). Two out of three respondents who purchased items like clothing and groceries online for the first time during the pandemic are likely to continue buying these items online. Given these new preferences, implementing solutions to optimise the online user experience and increase conversions will be key for all retailers.
Delighting customers online not only drives sales; it can also lead to brand advocacy. More than half (51%) of surveyed consumers said they are likely to share their positive experiences from online shopping on social media platforms, slightly more than the 47% that are likely to share negative experiences. The age group most likely to share positive experiences are 30–49-year-olds (65%).