Global Consumers Increasingly Comfy With Return To Physical Stores: Research

July 7, 2021 by Dave Haynes

The retail-focused solutions provider Mood Media has released new research looking at shopper sentiments globally, finding 80% of consumers are now comfy with the idea of returning to physical stores, up from 71% in 2020.

The report – Shopper Sentiments: A June 2021 Global Mood Survey –  was done by Censuswide, surveying more than 8,000 consumers across four major markets – the U.S., UK, China and France. It follows on similar research done in 2020.

Among the many findings:

Says Scott Moore, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Mood Media: “We’re experiencing a healthy buzz as shops reopen to a ‘new normal’ throughout the world. Consumers are eager to get back into stores to experience the joy of shopping again. This new study validates what we are seeing and hearing every day – both online and offline play an important role in retail, oftentimes in harmony with one another. That balance is now returning with solid foot traffic in shops around the world.”

“The pandemic placed pressure on stores to innovate at a faster pace, leading to an accelerated ‘phygital’ evolution which merges the physical and digital shopping experience,” says Moore. “The survey highlights key phygital trends that will be a focus for retailers and the customer journey beyond the here and now. Consumers have told us they want Click and Collect and Buy Online, Pick-Up In-Store options to continue well beyond the pandemic. And in China, we’re seeing longevity in the future of virtual try-ons and QR codes.”

Editor’s note: Moore used “phygital” twice, which unfortunately means he’s now going to hell, or that a kitten will die.

“The figures generally show positive sentiment across all four countries surveyed. While some reservations remain with regard to safety measures, people are generally voting with their feet and their wallets. We’re delighted that we appear to be approaching the end of a fairly grim 15 months, and life seems to be improving for the retail sector as a whole.”

One in three consumers liking curbside pick-up is interesting. I have and heard many assertions that outdoor digital displays will be used to greet and guide consumers through that process at big stores, but it is reasonable to wonder just how many retailers will spend $5,000-$15,000 for a daylight ready LCD totem that says Curbside Pickup Here, when an analog sign would do. It can’t be personalized, but will a big box retailer see the cost vs benefits of being able to say “Welcome Dave, your order will be out in 3 minutes” on the update-able sign?

In most cases, no.

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