The Shopper Revolution is Here

Are you ready?

When we talk revolution, there are numerous images throughout history that come to mind; the fall of the Berlin wall, the execution of the Romanovs, Che Guevara in his signature star-embellished beret. Ink drying on a sales contract is likely not one of these but in the last week two of Britain’s most iconic high street stores, Debenhams and Topshop, were both sold off to younger, more successful online competitors. These sales marked the final step in the first stage of a very different kind of revolution: The Shopper Revolution.

For years commentators, economists and psychologists have talked of a change in the shopping habits of our nation. From in-store to online, from shopping centres to shopping local, the rise of slow-fashion and the cycle from big-shop to top-up shop and back again, shoppers have changed drastically in the last decade.  At Spark, our wealth of experience in shopper insight means we’ve observed changes first-hand, seeing through the eyes of shoppers themselves as their habits gradually evolved over the long term.

Then, like in most great revolutions, there was a rapid acceleration of change, helped along the way by a uniquely difficult time in our society’s history: The COVID 19 Pandemic. As national lockdowns saw us restricted to one supermarket visit a week, and the high street closed, shoppers had to adapt, and quickly. We had moved from evolution to revolution, and most shoppers think their habits have now permanently changed.

  • 76% of Brits plan to make permanent changes to their shopping behaviour in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Nearly half (48%) planning to avoid busy destinations such as large shopping centres
  • A similar number (47%) say they’ll ‘definitely’ shop more online going forward

At Spark, we’ve spent the last 12 months adapting our ways of doing things to understand shoppers in these changing times – using online ethnographic tools to remain close to shoppers and learning from our partners in Crunch, Keel Over, and Ponderosa all about the best way to attract and convert shoppers online.

Viva la revolución!

Stats and sources


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