Data Shows Permanent Change in U.K Thrifters Behavior


If you’ve turned to new ways of shopping during 2020, you’re not alone. From a mounting use in apps to taking window shopping online, how we find and purchase services and products is shifting. The big question for brands and marketers is: which of these consumer behavior will dominate 2021?

While recent data shows us some early clues on what the retail future could look like, Google’s research has provided more detail on the long-run shift in consumer’s shopping behavior.

According to Google Trends, when times prove tough, we look to better ourselves, entertain each other and do a bit more for the environment.

Online Shopping is Here to Stay 

Shopping for services and products online is no news. But the pandemic has accelerated the rate at which brands opened e-commerce stores, and consumers shopped online. Consumers had shown an apparent and decisive interest in local products before the dawn of the pandemic when local shopping and the sourcing of food were gaining terrain.

Since March 202, thrifters have remained eager to source and purchase locally, with consumers placing more emphasis on sustainability and ethics that they often linked with local beverages and food buying.

For consumers, local products score high in traceability and lower carbon emissions due to less transportation. At the same time, online retailers have expanded their local product varieties or made them somewhat more visible through prominent e-tailer like Amazon Fresh. What’s more, the number of online stores and platforms specializing in the local product continues to expand.

Increasingly more food and beverage brands are sourcing their raw materials and ingredients locally. Along with emulating modern consumer requirements for sustainability, demand for smaller batch sizes means it is even more affordable to source ingredients from local businesses.

U.K. Thrifters to Make More Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable Purchases 

The pandemic outcome has been widespread, unforeseeable, and, in many cases, life-changing. As brands and consumers alike have dealt with the confusion around them, however, one improbable beneficiary has prospered – the environment. A recent report shows that 60 % of thrifters were making more environmentally friendly, ethical, or green purchases since the pandemic started, with 90% promising to do so long-term.

For global trends, that means a solid end to the era of greenwashing. The modern consumer has more time than ever on his/ her hands to reach brands – that’s right, for conscious thrifters, simply doing a shop has reached a whole new level, particularly with few other activities to eat their time.

It can also mean renewed importance for brands to get a grip with consumer’s local markets. Brands are now wondering whether new recycling initiatives promoted by local recycling brands like Miltek Balers will seamlessly integrate into the consumer life because they know there is a greater appreciation of the environment which they can no longer oversee.

Social Media Will Continue to Introduce Customers to Brands

Socials or social media platforms have become a center point of consumers’ daily lives. With half of the world in lockdown over the past year, people leveraged social media to stay connected with each other and for the experienced, they used to have in person.

Just as we witness this shift among consumers, brands also began to leverage social media to retain and nurture their relationships with audiences. As we type, social is a relied upon channel for thrifters and brands alike.

Socials have become an even more critical part of consumers’ lives. Over the last year, 54% of consumers claim their use of social media has peaked, which is unsurprising. Millennials and Gen Z thrifters have seen the greatest usage in social media apps and expect it to be growing. Market experts are still seeing consumers increasingly relying on social media for the same experiences they could get in real life, especially as the COVID-19 virus has hindered us from connecting with others.

According to Prosper Insights & Analytics, increasingly more consumers rely on online communities and social media for fun and entertainment, and 79% of consumers are using Instagram and Facebook regularly or occasionally.

Most Shoppers Will Prioritize Affordability or Their Health 

According to Google, searches for organic food and vitamins continue to surge compared to 2019, as many online consumers focus on their general wellbeing and try to protect themselves from the pandemic. Among the most “searched-for” health tracking devices are smartwatches, with searches remaining at sustained levels.

There is also a sustained interest in wellness in 2021. The year-long surge in health fitness and health search interest means that brands and retailers alike have to be smart about how they manage related categories.

Thrifters can no longer be addressed as beginners by default. Most consumers have already made their first step into new habits and are now looking for additional or more innovative products to optimize their new behaviors. That’s good news for brands who can now benefit from the chance to connect with the audience throughout the full lifecycle of their products, promoting recurrent purchases and generating long-term brand value.

Interest in Wellness Stretches Beyond London 

When it comes to wellness, Londoners are sure to make it first. According to Google, search interest in sustainability is higher in cities like Manchester and Bristol than in London. Other smaller cities and less urban areas like Cambridge, Oxford, Brighton, and Exeter are also leading the way.

Recent data show that food and lifestyle trends are reaching far well beyond London, with 50% of Britons now considering themselves conscious eaters. U.K.’s local markets would be doing themselves great disfavor in believing that wellness and other lifestyle and food trends are cyclic and only London-centric.

While local markets and brands have begun to slowly recover, U.K. consumers are gradually returning to physical stores, with the latest figure showing little reduction in the inevitable rise of online grocery shopping. Online sales for this period soared 92%, with one in five households in Britain having utilized social media channels in some form or buying groceries.