​ How COVID-19 has changed the way we shop.


On Monday 15th June non-essential shops opened their doors to customers for the first time since lockdown began on 23rd March.

After 14 weeks of quiet high-streets and empty shops, some of the biggest retailers in the country have reopened and shoppers have certainly not disappointed. Primark, the popular fast-fashion retailer, saw huge queues outside of some of their stores, with some customers waiting in line from 5am on Monday morning. Whilst product launches and grand openings mean that the British public are no strangers to the early morning queue, the 2 metre distance between clothes shoppers is definitely new.

Shopping has certainly undergone some adjustments. One-way systems, hand-sanitizer on tap, wiped down basket handles, and increased contactless payments are changes that are all here to stay.

Paying with cash seems to be a thing of the past now with contactless payments leading the way. In some places the £30 contactless cap has been raised to £45 or ever £50 to accommodate big spenders, and a number of retailers will only accept contactless payments. The way we think about and use money has shifted entirely.

It is not just how we pay that is changing, but how we shop. Even before COVID-19, the British high street was on the decline whilst online shopping was skyrocketing. Lockdown in the UK saw a huge uplift in online shopping, as retailers turned digital to keep business going.

Now shops are re-opening, but something is missing. The social element of shopping - meeting friends or family to peruse the clothing racks - has been removed. Online retail allows the public to shop at their leisure, regardless of opening times, and free from risk. Time saved not traveling to the retail park or shopping centre, can now be spent hunting for bargains and discounts. It’s the savvy shopper’s way.

So, despite mass queues and excitement at the reopening of the high street, technology is still leading the way. Contactless payments and online shopping have been (literal) lifesavers during the time of COVID-19. The same can be said for gift-cards too.

The UK trade body, the Gift Card & Voucher Association, have identified that digital gift-cards and e-vouchers are on the rise, whilst paper and plastic are now becoming much less common. Digital really is becoming the future of smart shopping.

17th of June, 2020More blog posts