[Partner Blog] How COVID-19 Has Affected E-Commerce in the UK

July 7, 2020

As we witnessed COVID-19 take the world by storm, we wanted to better understand how the pandemic would affect the e-commerce landscape as a whole. To track the impact of COVID-19 on e-commerce, our friends at ShipStation conducted a consumer study in the United Kingdom. The results revealed that overall e-commerce spending has spiked, with 48% of consumers saying they have spent more on retail within the past two months than in previous months.

Growth in E-Commerce Spending

In the UK, 51% of consumers say they are doing more online shopping as a result of living in quarantine. Among the reasons for increased consumer spending, 52% say being unsure of in-store product availability, 47% say it’s a result of spending more time at home and 27% say they have more free time to shop online.

Shipping Interruptions

Shipping has faced delays and challenges due to COVID. According to our study, 57% of consumers report experiencing a delivery disruption or cancellation as a result of the pandemic. Consumers are searching for transparent communication from businesses through this time, with 85% of consumers expecting a retailer to proactively communicate if their delivery is negatively affected.

Consumer Expectations Are Transforming

To maintain positive consumer relations, retailers have to create more flexible return policies. Our research shows that 45% of consumers are asking brands to provide free returns as a result of the outbreak, with 70% expecting brands to keep the extended returns they have begun offering due to COVID-19 delivery delays.

Supporting Local and Small Businesses

As a result of the COVID outbreak, small-to-medium businesses have faced some of the greatest negative impacts. In response, consumers have become increasingly more aware of local and small businesses that they can financially support. Of those surveyed, 68% of consumers say they’re now more aware of local and independent brands, with 58% increasing their spending with those small business brands. The momentum of support for small businesses appears likely to extend beyond the pandemic itself, with 76% of consumers saying they plan to support more local and independent brands.

For additional findings and to download ShipStation’s full report, check out this COVID-19 UK Research Guide.

Let ShipStation Help

Now is the perfect time to rethink how your business can evolve through this unknown time. To best support your business, ShipStation is offering a 90 day free trial for all new customers.