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30 November 2020

Consumer Shopping Behaviour Has Changed Forever & Brands Will Have to Evolve to Keep Up, New Research Finds

Since March 2020 Bauer Media has been carrying out regular research studies to gain timely insights reflecting the changing attitudes, behaviour & media consumption of consumers during the pandemic. During the UK’s second national lockdown, the latest research study looks at how both the consumer mindset and their shopping behaviour is evolving since the first lockdown and as the festive period nears. The survey found that for many people, key shopping behaviours picked up during the crisis will become permanent with nearly 40% saying that lockdown has changed the way they shop forever.

The second lockdown has hit hard…

  • 1 in 5 people stated they were not mentally prepared for the second lockdown
  • It has split opinions with 50% thinking that the second national lockdown is the right thing for the country 
  • Christmas will also be affected with two thirds of people agreed that it won’t be as big of a celebration this year

…But spending will continue this festive season:

  • 70% are not worried about their Christmas finances, with many starting Christmas planning and shopping earlier this year as they wanted something to look forward to
  • Almost half (46%) are likely to shop in a Christmas sale

Three evolving shopping trends are likely to continue beyond the crisis

  • The accelerated digital shopping shift
    • 80% agreed that technology makes it easier to shop online than go into stores
    • 71% will do at least half of their Christmas shopping online, increasing by 9% compared to the year prior
    • 11% are shopping more via apps on smart devices than they were before
    • Nearly 40% plan to shop more online in the future
  • The local focus
    • 35% plan to support small businesses in the future and 30% will shop more locally in the future
  • The Conscious Consumer:
    • Nearly half say they are more conscious of where their goods come from and 1 in 5 are trying to avoid buying from big online stores

Implications for brands:

The research shows that, whether shopping for everyday items or for fashion, people are shopping less frequently but spending more when they do. Many have been forced to switch where they shop due to the crisis and not everyone will go back to where they shopped previously (for example nearly 40% do not intend to go back to their previous supermarket having switched during the crisis). Many consumers continue to break from normal brand loyalty making it vital that brands remain visible to protect their position during this period of instability. 

Whether large or small, brands must deliver digitally on both the online user experience and added value. The most important features that brands must consider when creating their online platforms are:

  • Usability of the website (86%)
  • Free delivery (86%)
  • Free returns (76%)

New shopping journeys also emerged from the research, showing that 18% had bought products via social media and 4% via voice activated devices making it increasingly important for brands to be visible across multiple media touchpoints.

Brands will have to constantly evolve to keep up with shifts in behaviour and attitudes as people look to the future with intentions to carry out:

  • More budgeting: 23% say they will plan their budgets more in the future
  • More introspection: 22% intend to review their life goals
  • More charity: 15% plan to give more to charity

Commenting on what the research means for brands, Abby Carvosso, Group MD, Bauer Advertising, said: “Our new Bauer research demonstrates that despite the pandemic our audiences will still be spending this Christmas, albeit in different ways. Therefore, it is critical that brands continue to advertise and speak to audiences, reaching them wherever they are – through radio, magazines, online and smart speaker. Throughout this crisis our insight has proved invaluable to our advertisers – helping us to help them develop the right tone and messaging that resonates with audiences – and we will continue supporting them as we begin to return to some sort of normality.”

The study was conducted on 3-9th November on the Bauer Insider panel, weighted to be nationally representative (gender, age, social grade and region), with a sample size of 1,231. For more information, contact


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For further press information, please contact:

Cat Martin – Communications Director, Bauer Media Audio – 07932746363

Odelia Yu, Senior Commercial Communications Executive, Bauer Media – 07718124791

About Bauer Media

Bauer Media UK reaches over 25 million UK consumers through a portfolio of world-class, multi-platform media and entertainment brands including heat, KISS, Grazia, Empire, Magic, Absolute Radio and the Hits Radio Network. These brands offer commercial partners access to highly engaged audiences, with creative solutions underpinned by insight and instinct. Bauer Media UK is part of the Bauer Media Group, one of the world’s largest privately-owned media businesses with media assets all over the globe. For more information on Bauer Media brands please go to or follow on Twitter @bauermedia

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