In response to the lockdowns and restrictions on traditional retail, there has been a huge acceleration in e-commerce. People have bought not just the basics but embarked on long-dreamed-of (or put off) DIY projects, kitted out their home with new tech, and pursued fitness goals. According to Retail Week, the fastest-growing retailer in the UK in 2020 was Gymshark.1 COVID-19 has created a step-change in the adoption of e-commerce, but will increased interest in things such as fitness, home improvement and new technology be sustained? Time will tell.
The switch to online hasn’t been plain sailing, either. As people were forced online, they often found it hard work. In the UK, the proportion saying online shopping is harder than going to a physical store rose, with even more agreeing in France and Germany – the forced adoption of online shopping was not without its problems.2 At first glance, this could reflect people who are perhaps less likely to have shopped much online in the past, or are in a generation less likely to be as tech savvy. However, we found that Gen Z are no different in this regard, with 36% agreeing, up from 23% in 2019.