I entered 2020 with what many would call an online shopping addiction – so much so, I put myself on a Jan-Ban from all of my favourite, go-to digital stores (ASOS, Nasty Gal, NA-KD, the list goes on).
A month later and suddenly aware a deadly virus was starting to hit closer to home, I decided to firmly keep the ban in place and see how the world around me was impacted.
Fast forward to today and we’re in our sixth week of lockdown – restaurants, bars and shops across the UK are shut, we’re only allowed to venture out for essentials and people are facing financial issues due to job losses or being put on furlough.
As we all adjust to the current situation and a ‘new normal’ forms, our shopping habits have been affected dramatically. Many are food shopping more carefully, sticking to basics and avoiding the premium range, and online shopping has mostly been popped on pause.
Other than buying items that are essential to your specific lockdown – sweatpants for some, books and candles for others – the desire to add that dress to your basket has gone and there are no new items in your online wardrobe wish-list, as we simply have nowhere to go.
A silver lining to this new, conscious consumer we have all become – is that it’s made us more aware of small, local businesses and how much they require support. Through the power of social media, we’ve seen a number of independents offering free services, with several even risking their own personal health to provide the same great service (just in a takeaway form).
This has elevated our appreciation for this kind of business, and even whilst we’re trying to keep costs down, the spare money that we do have is going to them. Buying food from independent bakeries and butchers, purchasing products from up and coming local retailers and taking online classes with personal trainers, are just a few examples of how we’re offering our support.
This has allowed many small businesses to thrive and grow their audience as they have adapted to the new climate so well, whilst larger, well-known companies have unfortunately been unable to sustain trading – especially those without an online presence or any e-commerce.
So as we do slowly but surely move towards this ‘new normal’ – will our new shopping habits remain, or will we come back ready for a ‘revenge spend’? From conversations with my nearest and dearest, there’s a new sensibility about us, we’ve realised the impact we can have on the local businesses that we love and that we don’t need to spend beyond our means.
Eventually, I’m sure those weekend plans will come back and we’ll all be wanting to update our wardrobes and book fancy weekends away, but we’ve become very much aware of our shopping and spending habits and our new, mindful approach will probably be around for most of 2020.