Britain is leading the way in its digital adoption journeys through the COVID-19 pandemic. British citizens are far more mobile-savvy, using more mobile apps for their grocery and other localized shopping needs. According to the latest digital shopping trends report, Brits are leading in terms of digital use for grocery shopping and food delivery in comparison to France, Germany & US. However, Britain is still lagging in terms of retail e-commerce. Data from a new OpinionWay survey commissioned by digital agency JIN shows that a significant 72% of Brits say they have been shopping online as or more frequently than before the crisis. In fact, Tesco recorded that in the early part of the COVID-19 crisis, their sales grew by 30% as they doubled their online delivery capacity (Sillitoe, 2020).
The new survey about behaviors and attitudes during the COVID-19 crisis across the UK, France, Germany and the US, revealed that Britain is leading in terms of digital adoption. Brits across generations have more readily adapted to the new digital landscape in comparison to the other countries.
Whilst all the countries listed Amazon in their Top 3 standout brands, Brits valued the efforts of the British supermarket chains during the crisis. Brands that displayed empathy and support towards the wider society were viewed more favorably. All 3 supermarket brands had initiatives to support the community, which may have contributed to people feeling more connected to the community. The supermarket chains in Britain came together to draw ‘feed the nation’ contingency plans to help cope with the spike in panic buying. They also all played a big role in prioritizing the NHS. Further emphasizing the important role NHS plays in British society.
According to the 1,013 Britons polled, 62% of people in the UK have a grocery delivery account and in London, 71% have an account, with a significant 37% who have created a one since the crisis:
- Top 3 brands in the crisis: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda
- Online groceries: 32% are shopping more frequently than before vs 16% in France, 18% in Germany, 30% in the US
- Takeaway: 61% of the population with food delivery accounts vs 14% in France, 39% in Germany, and 48% in the US
Ecommerce: 37% of Brits have an account and only 8% intend to keep using it
- Gov institutions (inc. hospitals) particularly praised in the UK
- Fake news is an increasing concern across all countries
While many in Britain were quick to adjust to the digital shift for their online groceries, this was not the case for e-commerce. From all the countries, Britain had the lowest amount of the population with e-commerce accounts at only 37%, in comparison to 77% in Germany.
In March, retail sales recorded the largest drop on record, as volumes feel sharply by 5.1% (ONS, 2020). Many non-foods saw a large decrease in the value and volume of sales, particularly clothing stores (ONS, 2020). This signals that in Britain people may be more frugal with their spending and focusing on necessities, such as grocery shopping and food.