Opinion: Covid-19 has exposed retail’s digital dawdlers

Online shopping

It would be no overstatement to suggest that the Covid-19 emergency has prompted one of the most seismic shifts in consumer behaviour in the last 100 years.

A recent survey by Accenture showed that Covid-19 is causing consumers to rethink their purchasing priorities, with many of these changes likely to continue long after the pandemic has passed.

According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, monthly retail sales suffered their largest fall ever recorded in April. Inversely, ecommerce sales reached a record high, accounting for 30.7% of total retail sales, as millions of consumers switched to online purchasing while in lockdown.

Though the current scale of the shift is dramatic, this migration of consumers to digital channels has been building for the last three decades. As the epidemic in the UK prompts an unprecedented shock to demand, the growth in ecommerce is poised to continue. This begs the question: why are so many retailers seemingly so ill-prepared?

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