Alternative shopping options such as in-store pickup at 46% and the contactless shopping experience such as self-payment 27% are the most important factors in rebuilding the confidence of consumers in the Kingdom to visit public places, according to a new study conducted by Kearney in a series of surveys that explore consumers’ shopping habits since the onset of the pandemic.
The results revealed that 80% of consumers admitted to changing their shopping habits to adapt to the “new normal,” with the 30-45 age group recording the highest change with 89%, followed by those under 30 with 84%.
When looking at how consumption habits have changed, it was found that 18% of consumers reduced spending on essential items by up to half compared to before the pandemic, while 60% of respondents raised their spending by more than a quarter on essential items. In contrast, spending on non-essentials decreased by 26%, with 45% of respondents reporting that they increased spending in this area.
Within the essentials category, 45% of respondents upgraded to higher quality and more priced items, with the highest increase recorded in the meat and dairy category (61%), fruits and vegetables (59%).
31% of respondents indicated that they expect to spend more on non-essentials in the coming months, especially on casual clothes 48%, work clothes 41%, evening wear 39%, sportswear 36%, shoes 34%, and bags and accessories 27% .
Commenting on the results of the survey, Adel Belkaid, partner at Kearney Middle East, said: “The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way consumers view health and safety measures. As the population assimilated the new normal, cleanliness and transparency about it became vital. Spending is closely linked to easing restrictions, awareness of health and care, and higher expectations of returning to the office.
Belkaid concluded: “For consumers in Saudi Arabia, the element of convenience is the primary motive for making an online purchase, which shows the decline of concerns about Covid-19 to a secondary level, which indicates the continuing change in online shopping habits. However, physical stores still play a strong role in all categories in which a customer needs to touch, feel and experience a product. Retailers will have to adopt a different strategy to make consumers feel safe in their stores; Despite the high demand in Saudi Arabia for alternative shopping experiences such as remote shopping, in-store pickup, contactless and self-payment, there is a noticeable disparity across markets, and it is necessary for the concerned parties in shopping centers and stores to keep pace with the evolving face of retail trade to maintain its position.