COVID Drives Long-Term Consumer Shift Towards Online Shopping, New e-Commerce Study Reveals

Social distancing economy drives long-term shift towards online shopping, new study reveals

Half (49%) of UK shoppers say they’ve discovered a new form of online shopping during lockdown, with 81% set to continue this trend in the future

London, UK – A new study has found a shift towards discovering new stores and goods online during the peak of COVID in the UK, with almost half the population (49%) saying they’ve discovered at least one new form of online shopping – such as a new brand or app site –  they want to continue. A further 37% reported that they’d discovered at least one new online store with a staggering 81% planning to continue this shift to online for the future.

Where are they spending their time and money? The results, published today by Criteo, the global technology company powering the world’s marketers with trusted and impactful advertising, showed that 40% said they’d discovered new grocery and online supermarkets, 35% said they’d explored the online counterparts to the usual physical stores they visit and 32% reported discovering small merchants during lockdown that they previously didn’t know about. This trend towards discovering online is also apparent across all generations. Gen Z (56%) were most likely to have discovered a new online store, followed by millennials (43%), Gen X (34%) and boomers (27%).

The findings from the report reveal that shoppers are extremely likely to continue these online shopping behaviours in the long-term, with 81% saying they plan to continue purchasing from one or more of these stores. This is true across all age groups surveyed, with Gen X (86%) the most likely, followed by millennials (81%), Gen Z (80%) and boomers (76%).

For the vast majority of the population, life has changed significantly since COVID-19. As new challenges and priorities have emerged and the easing of lockdown restrictions have started, Criteo wanted to find out how people are feeling about the potential return to a new normal. The result? Although more than 6 in 10 (61%) of UK shoppers said they miss going to physical shops, almost half as many – only one third (34%) – said they feel ready to go back to a physical store in the next 2 months.

Meanwhile, there is also an increasing interest in the feel-good factor when it comes to using specific brands. Consumers looking at offerings that make them feel good, with 15% of new shoppers stating that local goods are the main reason they will continue to shop at these new outlets, with 14% citing good packaging, and 13% saying that newly discovered shops are making them feel valued.

Marc O’Fathaigh, Country Director UK at Criteo commented on the findings: “We anticipated a major shift towards online shopping during the peak of the pandemic but what’s most interesting here is consumers’ intentions to continue discovering new stores and goods online in the long-term. This is a new world for consumers, unlike anything we’ve seen for generations. So retailers have a real opportunity to appeal to their new sense of discovery online and create a relevant experience that keeps them engaged for the long-term. ”

About Criteo:
Criteo (NASDAQ: CRTO) is the global technology company powering the world’s marketers with trusted and impactful advertising. 2,700 Criteo team members partner with over 20,000 customers and thousands of publishers around the globe to deliver effective advertising across all channels, by applying advanced machine learning to unparalleled data sets. Criteo empowers companies of all sizes with the technology they need to better know and serve their customers. For more information, please visit

Criteo surveyed 13,532 respondents having experienced complete or partial lockdown at any point within the past few months across 12 countries between May 13 and May 29 2020.

This sample is representative of the populations of the respective countries by age and gender. The UK sample size was 1,037.