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Hybrid Working Leads To A Return To Weekend Shopping

Hybrid Working Leads To A Return To Weekend Shopping

Hybrid Working Leads To A Return To Weekend Shopping

Retail analysts MRI Springboard have released data that looks at consumer football in the UK, with a particular focus on the four weeks between 29th January and 25th January 2023. Whilst the headline figures show that footfall is still lower than it was when compared to February 2019, before the pandemic, what is perhaps more interesting is the comparison between weekday and weekend traffic.

It can be easy for those of us working in e-commerce or ghost mannequin photography to lose sight of footfall, but the stronger the performance of retail stores, the more positive the outlook for the retail and fashion market overall.

The key facts and figures

If we start by looking at how UK footfall in this time period compares to data from before the pandemic, we can see that weekend football is recovering at a faster pace than weekdays. When comparisons are made to February 2019, weekends are at -9.3% whereas weekdays are struggling at -15.4%.

The point here is that retail has become more reliant on shoppers at the weekend and not footfall from workers popping out on a lunch break from the office or on the way home. When combined with research that shows 56% of respondents will be working from home for part or all of the working week we can theorise that hybrid working is impacting consumer behaviour.

Other interesting results from the report (29th January to 25th February 2023) include:

  • Almost 25% of hybrid workers visit retail stores less frequently when compared to pre-pandemic but spend more time shopping during each visit.
  • 25% of shoppers like to include leisure activities as part of their shopping journey, focusing on evenings and weekends.
  • UK footfall increased in Feb 2023 when compared to the previous month, despite a drop in January when compared to Dec 2022.
  • The footfall at weekends that made up the weekly total increased to 29.8% during February 2023, higher than the rate in February 2019.

What do the experts think?

The Insights Director from MRI Springboard, Diane Wehrle provided some observations based on the data within their report. Firstly, she highlighted that despite challenges around inflation, footfall has been resilient and February 2023 saw the largest increase over a month for two years.

This improvement from January implies that the change in behaviour is more down to the shift to hybrid working than the retail sector underperforming.

Diane Wehrle states goes on to suggest this report reveals a genuine shift in consumer behaviour and from that we can surmise that retailers and fashion brands need to look at how they embrace and encourage shoppers to shop with them during this period. Could that be looking at an improved omnichannel experience to draw in hybrid workers or change opening hours at weekends and evenings?

For those of us working in ghost mannequin photography, retailers that prosper are a good thing and consumers spending more time during their shopping trips means a requirement by retailers to deliver a better overall experience.

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