Online shopping habits could be here to stay, says new research from DS Smith

The pandemic has accelerated consumers’ move to online shopping, with new research into consumer behaviour indicating that the majority of Brits now plan to stick to their lockdown online buying habits from here on out.

According to a survey commissioned by DS Smith, the London-based packaging specialist, retailers have seen online sales increase dramatically, with 61 per cent of Brits admitting to shopping more online during Covid19. The unsurprising increase in ecommerce is expected to add £5.3bn to UK ecommerce sales in 2020, bringing the total to £78.9bn.

The same survey goes on to reveal that 89 per cent of British shoppers say they will continue to shop online at the same level, or even more, post lockdown. 93 per cent of Brits now feel confident about buying items online.

Groceries has seen the biggest increase, with 39 per cent of British shoppers reporting an increase in online shopping. Lockdown also saw 29 per cent of Brits increase their online shopping for home and garden products – contributing to the 41 per cent of Brits who received a home, garden, or DIY related product since the Covid-19 crisis.

With lockdown easing, DS Smith’s research indicates that many of these new shopping trends will now be here to stay. More than half of Brits are planning to buy groceries (60 per cent), hygiene products (51 per cent), and home and garden products (54 per cent) online at the same rate or higher in the coming six months.

On top of this, almost one third of Brits said they have signed up to a new shopping website that they hadn’t used before lockdown, while spending on meal kits and grocery delivery boxes soared by 114 per cent after people were told to stay home.

Stefano Rossi, packaging CEO at DS Smith, said: “There has been a seismic shift in the way consumers are shopping and we’ve been using our expertise to support businesses of all sizes with the rapid growth of ecommerce so they can survive and thrive through this uncertain time.

“What’s clear is that as lockdown eases further, these trends aren’t likely to fall away. Consumers have found new confidence and convenience in the way they shop, buying a whole range of items online – everything from the family food shop, to toiletries and home and garden products.

“If companies are not already transforming their business to meet this new age of ecommerce, they risk being left behind.”

The survey has gone on to detail the latest statistics around greener packaging, suggesting that green recovery and building back better is becoming a global priority, while sustainability is an increasing concern for Brits post-lockdown. It indicates that 24 per cent of shoppers are more likely to buy online if items are delivered with less packaging or more sustainable packaging, while 21 per cent are more likely to buy online if their products arrive in more recyclable packaging.

Rossi added: “The research shows that greener packaging is a real concern for shoppers and as we help our customers make a green recovery a practical reality and priority through simple measures like adopting sustainable packaging. We’re keen to help brands and businesses navigate this path and work with them so they can benefit from sustainable packaging solutions.”