News & Views - Savantor

Coronavirus and its impact upon spending behaviours

Saturday, 16 May 2020

The lockdown imposed on the UK public on 23rd March, as well as self-imposed decisions to minimise travel outside the home in the preceding days, have inevitably had a massive impact on our spending habits.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), retail sales in the UK dropped by a record amount in April, falling by 18.1%.

Clothing sales halved as many High Street shops were shut under the lockdown measures but online shopping as a proportion of all retail reached a record high of 30.7%, according to the ONS.

All types of shop, other than those selling clothing or household goods, saw record amounts being spent with them online, however the increase in online shopping did not offset the collapse in High Street spending.

The fall in non-food sales in April resulted in the lowest levels of clothing and shoe sales seen since the ONS started collecting the data.

In April, the proportion of online spending on food increased from 5.7% to 9.3%; off-licence sales also continued to increase, seeing a slight rise after a 23.9% jump in March. Total grocery sales rose 14.3% during the three-month period to 17 May, the fastest rate since 1994.

The shift in demand to online shopping has clearly identified those companies with the most robust e-commerce operations as retailers have struggled to cope with online demands. Online grocery retailers in particular found that their online services have been subject to unprecedented demand.

The latest grocery industry figures also show a marked change in shopping behaviour by consumers during the high street lockdown, with small local shops benefiting alongside online retailers. Corner shops and independent grocery stores have reported a 63% increase in trade as shoppers have turned to local outlets. 

The number of shoppers visiting UK High Streets, retail parks and shopping centres fell at its fastest rate ever in April as the lockdown forced people to stay indoors, with footfall decreasing by more than 80% according to industry figures. This was almost double the level of March's downturn when there was a 41.3% drop in visits to shopping locations.

Whilst it is unlikely that the increase in online shopping will be sustained at these levels once restrictions on movement begin to be lifted, nevertheless it has probably accelerated the move towards online which was already in process. Grocery retailers in particular have gained new customers, many from the older demographic of the population – they may well continue using these services in the future.

One other major change in shopping behaviour resulting from the lockdown has been in the use of cash. For both practical and perceived hygiene reasons, cash usage in the UK has changed radically, with ATM withdrawals falling 60% during the lockdown and 75% of UK consumers reporting that their use of paper money is down. 

Prior to the pandemic, cash was very much under attack as a payment method, with various industry initiatives to try and ensure that it remains an option for the various sectors of the population that rely on it. Just how much the current decrease in cash usage remains a permanent trend post-lockdown and the impact this has upon continuing to support it as a means of payment will be interesting to see.

Savantor Services

Savantor Services

Savantor services are tailored to Client needs based on our core service areas

Specialist Resourcing Payments Strategy Platform Transition Operational Efficiency
Savantor Services

Job Opportunities

Consulting and contracting roles in the payments, mobile and banking arena within the UK and across Europe

View more
Savantor Services

Savantor Views

Find out more from our Savantor brochures, MarketEye back copies and Industry opinion

Collateral Market Eye News & Views Sign Up to receive MarketEye

Client Quotes

Market Insights

"Savantor did a good job in helping us understand the dynamics of a key growth area for Trionis. Savantor's ability to listen and their degree of commitment have always impressed me. They have been of great help in providing us important market insights and I would not hesitate to work with them again in future."

Ernst Verbeek, Managing Director - Trionis - Belgium

Issuer and Acquirer Transformation - Assessment and Mobilisation

"We were in urgent need of external independent expertise to supplement our internal resources. Senior consultants had to quickly integrate with a diverse team from across the bank and actively contribute. I am pleased to say that Savantor was able to deliver on our needs as well as being good people to do business with."

Lars Bostrom, Head of Cards - Nordea - Scandinavia

Acquirer Specialist Support

"OP-Pohjola Group has used Savantors help in numerous different specialist projects differing from risk assessment to management tool creation to transaction analysis. We have been very satisfied by the quality of the service provided by Savantor's experts."

Kai Lindstrom, Head of Acquiring - OP-Services Ltd - Finland

Acquiring market insight and strategy review

"Savantor brought an independent perspective and valuable insight that enabled Rabobank to ratify options for delivery and future growth and make informed business decisions in support of our target business model. Having used Savantor on a number of strategic projects, we have no hesitation in recommending their services to others."

Evert R Fekkes, SVP Payment & Savings Services - Rabobank - Nederland

Payments Workshop Material

"Savantor helped ACI build a payments onboarding workshop for new technical staff in ACI EMEA. Their extensive experience took our outline and built a great starting presentation of industry facts that we have now customised further into a half day session that is used for all new joiners. Our Americas and APAC regions have also taken the material and customised it for their regions. A great job by Savantor has meant new joiners to ACI hit the ground running."

Richard Sanders, Principal Solution Consultant - ACI - Worldwide EMEA

Commercial Card Migration

"Execution at its best. We're delighted that this project has been truly outstanding and received an award from 'The Banker'. Savantor provided crucial expertise that helped us keep all our promises in terms of delivery. The scheduling, planning and control regime throughout was excellent."

Chris Mason, Director - Commercial Cards EMEA - Citi - UK

New Fuel Card Guidelines

"Savantor successfully assisted Clear2Pay by providing specialist EMV expertise."

Marie Costers, General Manager - Clear2Pay Open Test Solutions

Credit Card Launch

"Savantor's knowledge and experience were the key differentiators in selecting them and they contributed greatly to the success of the product launch and the effectiveness of the ongoing operational service."

Toine Schepers, Operations Director - Primeline - The Netherlands

Clients - Request Support

Send us a support request and one of our specialists will be in contact to assist you.

Consultants – Upload your CV

Register your CV with us and gain access to a range of job opportunities through our online job search portal.