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Online Shopping Fatigue? Half of Scots Consumers Prefer the High Street

Ross Kelly

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Online shopping
Nearly one-quarter of consumers said online services have not met their needs during lockdown.

Nearly half of Scottish consumers say they would be willing to pay more at a local high street retailer than shop online, according to a new study.

New research from Deloitte Digital shows that 46% of Scots would prefer shopping on their local high street so they can enjoy additional amenities.

The study, which is based on responses from 3,100 British consumers between 1st and 19th April 2021, also highlighted a growing dissatisfaction with online shopping.

Nearly One-third (30%) of Scottish consumers say that the online service experience is “not good enough”. Crucially, 23% of consumers also noted that online services have not met their needs during lockdown.

Online shopping has skyrocketed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last year. And with lockdown restrictions in full force across the UK, British consumers flocked to the web.

Insights from the Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index, published earlier this month, also highlighted the sharp increase in online shopping since the beginning of the pandemic.

Across Scotland, consumers spent more than £1,600 extra while shopping online over the last year. Similarly, on average, Scots have made 30 more online transactions over the same period.

This increase in online shopping activity also appears to have changed how consumers perceive the quality of online experiences, the Deloitte Digital study found.

In Scotland, 51% of consumers say they are now more likely to buy products directly from a company website.

However, 43% admit they are now less tolerant of a poor online service experience as user experience grows in importance. Overall, 39% say they are now more likely to spend money at a business that makes it easy for them to shop or interact with them online.

Debbi McLean, Practice Lead at Deloitte Digital Scotland, said the study highlights the need for businesses to continue fine-tuning their digital services and experience as the country eases out of lockdown.

“While I expect that the high street will be a real hot spot for business growth in the coming months, it is also clear that brands must not lose focus on continuing to improve their digital offerings,” she said.

“Alongside the joy of being able to shop in physical stores, consumers will continue to rely on digital options for the ease and choice that they offer. If a consumer has a bad experience with a brand online, they are much more likely to visit a competitor’s site.”


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Following the lifting of lockdown restrictions, around two thirds (63%) of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services that are produced and sourced locally.

Overall, three in five (60%) consumers in Scotland say they are now more likely to spend money at a business that is independent or local to their area, while 46% are more likely to spend money at a business that has supported local charities, such as food banks.

More than a third (36%) say they started using more local stores and services to support their community during the pandemic.

Robin Baird, Head of Strategy and Design at Deloitte Digital in Scotland, said: “During lockdown, consumers used local stores and services out of necessity but we’re now seeing that they’re drawn to local businesses out of choice.

“Local brands can consider more ways to boost local loyalty, for instance by rolling-out subscription services, establishing an online presence or hosting community events.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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