Ninety-seven percent of surveyed U.K. consumers are now making monthly retail purchases online, according to a recent survey by global payments and hardware solution provider Square.
Square’s findings are based on a survey of more than 300 restaurants, 500 retail owners and managers and 1,000 consumers in the U.K. The survey assessed how business has changed since the beginning of the pandemic and dig into how retailers and restauranteurs are taking control of their future by delivering on customers’ evolving expectations, focusing on reinventing their business model, implementing new technology and maintaining operational efficiency.
The significant uptake in online shopping comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced both consumers and business establishments to rethink how they interact and conduct their business on a daily basis.
“Retail has changed rapidly over the last year, but the transformation is giving retailers a chance to slow down and invest in smarter working practices both in-store and online,” said David Rusenko, Head of e-Commerce at Square.
“The changes aren’t intended to simply ‘keep you going for now’ — they’re permanent and redefining what a meaningful retail experience can look like.”
One of the key changes that have occurred during this period is the growth in popularity of same-day in-store pickup, with more than half of surveyed U.K. businesses now offering the service.
The pandemic has also heightened U.K. consumers’ appetite for other innovative shopping and payment experiences. Seventy-three percent of surveyed U.K. consumers have purchased products directly from social media in the past month and 35 percent have reported interest in virtual reality (VR) shopping experiences.
The study also found that 98 percent of restaurants have had to reorganize their business efforts in order to survive the past 12 months, with contactless solutions becoming a vital element as one in four consumers now consider contactless technology to be a critical element to their dining experience.
“Restaurants of all types, from independent cafes to large chain restaurants, have had to change the way they operate,” said Bryan Solar, General Manager of Square for Restaurants. “Around the world, we know that people love restaurants, in part because they provide a social encounter that brings us together – technology unlocks restaurants to keep the heart of the experience, just in a more efficient way. Moving forward, restaurants are not only open to change, they’re investing heavily in it, ensuring they stay integrated and connected.”