Travel curbs and homeworking prompt people to shop near home instead of in city centres, so it's good news for local independent shops, amongst others, according to Barclaycard - which covers nearly half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions.
Britain’s independent shops had a sales boost in 2020 despite an overall drop in retail spending, as Covid travel restrictions and working from home prompted consumers to shop on local high streets instead of city centres. Data from Barclaycard shows spending at independent food and drink shops, including off-licences, butchers and bakeries, jumped 28.6 percent in 2020 compared with a year earlier.
Whilst department stores had a particularly difficult time, bricks and mortar discounters had a 25.4 percent increase in sales, as Britons facing furlough and job cuts sought value for money deals.
Consumers forced to spend more time at home turned to DIY projects to spruce up their living space. Pent-up demand after the reopening of non-essential shops in June pushed overall spending at DIY and home goods stores up 9.8 percent for the year. Furniture retailers reported a 5.3 percent rise, as consumers invested in big ticket items.
Britons treated themselves – as well as friends and family they could not see – to flowers throughout the year, with spending at florists rising 22.7 percent. Crafts and hobby spending increased 9.8 percent, and pets were given extra attention with vet and pet retail increasing 10.7 percent.
Covid restrictions contributed to a 49.1 percent rise in spending on online takeaway orders, while meal subscription services jumped 62.4 percent.
Demand for at-home entertainment pushed spending on digital subscriptions up 31.5 percent, while money spent on electronics including game consoles rose 10.8 percent. Meanwhile, general online retailers benefited from a 52.5 percent hike in spending.
Raheel Ahmed, Barclaycard’s head of consumer products, said: “2020 has accelerated many trends. E-commerce has seen huge growth, working from home has meant many are shopping more locally, and experiences within the home, such as virtual workouts, have become the norm.”
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