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

Moneris Solutions

"Savantor did an outstanding job of the review and I received nothing but positive feedback on the interaction with our management team."

Jeff Guthri, COO - Moneris Solutions - Canada

Interchange Review

"Savantor did a superb job in confirming what we believed was an area of weakness. The detail we now have will enable us to agree internally what we need to do to improve structure, control and income. Nationwide management were very impressed with the quality of the Savantor team."

Adam Slater, Senior Manager - Banking - Nationwide Building Society - UK

Complex Multi-Country Migration

"This complex migration, undertaken simultaneously in Spain and Portugal, has been a complete success. Savantor has provided us with excellent support for over 3 years, both in the original business transformation programme and now this double migration. We value their open and honest approach to business, and of course the expertise that they bring."

Ricardo Gomez, Director, Operations & Technology - WiZink Bank – Spain & Portugal

Business and Platform Strategy

"Savantor successfully advised Rabobank during preparing of the platform migration for cards. Savantor demonstrated thorough knowledge of business processes and market players combined with a practical approach."

Evert Fekkes, Business Information Manager - Rabobank - Nederland

Acquirer Risk Assessment

"The expertise provided by Savantor has greatly helped us evaluate our risk position and to take the right steps in managing our future risks. Strong, disciplined planning and an ongoing willingness to work closely with our staff played an enormous part in making this a very successful well-delivered project which will greatly help us in achieving our business goals."

Mark Healy, Chief Risk Officer - NEOVIA Financial - UK

Credit Risk Review for New Product Launch

"We needed expert help at short notice and Savantor were very impressive in their response and knowledge. The results were very clear and useful, enabling us to quickly make good progress on the next steps."

Sami Karhunen, Head of Business Intelligence and SME Sales - Point Transaction Systems Oy - Finland

New Payments Initiative

"In moving our new initiative into reality, we required specialist payments knowledge and forward thinking in the retail sector. Savantor supplied this and provided very effective guidance throughout. We enjoyed working with them."

Sophie High, Head of Innovation Delivery - Cancer Research UK

Expert Witness

"After searching extensively for the required industry expert in a complex litigation, Savantor was identified to have the necessary industry knowledge and expertise on a range of complex issues. Savantor provided clear advice and was able to quickly hone in on the key issues, but most importantly, generating pragmatic winnable answers."

Gavin Ingram, General Counsel & VP Strategic Planning - Global Blue - Asia Pacific

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.