Three in five (59 per cent) consumers have used more local stores and services to help support them during the lockdown, according to new research from Deloitte Digital analysing the impact of the pandemic on customer experience.
In addition, 57 per cent of consumers say they will be more likely to spend money at a business that offers locally produced products once the lockdown has lifted than they would have done before the stay-at-home order was imposed.
Deloitte’s research, analysing responses from 2140 consumers aged 16 and over in Great Britain between 22-26 May, also found that 20 per cent consumers have stopped using a business due to their response to Covid-19.
Just over a quarter – 28 per cent – of consumers between ages 16-24 say they have stopped using a shop for this reason, for instance that has refused to prioritise front-line workers or failed to ensure the safety of their employees.
Meanwhile, 19 per cent of all respondents say they have started using a shop as a result of their response, such as one that has prioritised front-line workers or quickly introduced measures to keep their employees safe.
Deloitte Digital chief marketing officer Becky Skiles said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged brands to demonstrate their commitment to upholding the health and wellbeing of both their staff and their customers, while continuing to deliver products and services as safely and seamlessly as possible. Those that have done this well are seeing real benefits in terms of customer loyalty.
“Younger consumers in particular are prepared to stand by the brands that demonstrate the positive impact they bring to society and abandon those who do not.
“For brands to build loyalty, the positive contribution they are bringing to employees and communities must be as clearly communicated as their product offering.”
Deloitte’s research also indicates that almost half – 46 per cent – of consumers say they are more likely to spend money at a shop that supports local charities, such as food banks, once the lockdown has lifted.
In comparison, 25 per cent of consumers say they are more likely to spend money at a shop with a large national presence and just seven per cent say they would be more likely to use a shop that has a large global presence.
Meanwhile, 62 per cent of consumers are more likely to spend money at a shop that takes extra steps to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees once the majority of lockdown restrictions have lifted.
Deloitte Digital director Deborah Womack said: “Consumers may have begun shopping locally out of necessity rather than choice, however they are rediscovering their local shop as a place for human contact and personal service when they need it most.
“With people increasingly supporting their local area, businesses that have a strong understanding of the community will be the most likely to recover well and thrive in the coming months.”