Shoppers say they’ll continue to shop local as pandemic shift becomes entrenched

New Data & Marketing Association (DMA) research has laid bare the transformative impact of the pandemic on consumer shopping patterns, with over half continuing to buy locally even after the relaxation of lockdown restrictions.

The survey outlines how 58% of Britons are focused on supporting their local economy as time spent on commuting and leisure travel collapses, rising to 67% among those aged 65 and over as our collective horizons shrink.

Citing the embrace of localism as an emerging trend, the DMA speculates that the more positive attributes of lockdown, including a better work-life balance and a stronger sense of community, may guide future purchases even after the pandemic is just a memory.

Quizzed on their evolving shopping patterns, 36% stated that they wished to support homegrown business while 21% preferred the convenience of reduced travel. A further 13% voiced a desire to shop more sustainably as the guiding principle behind their changed behavior.

Tim Bond, director of insight at the DMA, said: “Over the past few years, sustainability and accountability have been growing concerns expressed about our industry. Values matter to consumers and our latest findings highlight the increasing significance of community spirit, inclusivity and environmental awareness as important values for brands to possess. The pandemic has renewed our focus on supporting the local economy and this is reflected by many consumers continuing to use local businesses.”

The pandemic has long been recognized as a game changer in shaping consumer behavior, opening the door to a new economy where people allow purchasing decisions by ethical beliefs, fueling the rise of specialist retailers and of course e-commerce.