Coronavirus: some UK shoppers to avoid malls and Chinese-shipped goods on health fears

Feb 24, 2020
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A new survey has revealed how much Britons’ shopping habits could change if the coronavirus persists, with a significant proportion of consumers saying they would avoid physical shopping destinations such as malls.

While almost a quarter of consumers think that the disease currently poses a high level of threat to health in the UK, 35% think it’s a moderate threat and 42% see it as low threat, found a report from Retail Economics.

There could be a dramatic shift in discretionary spending should the outbreak persist. The proportion of people who are avoiding shopping destinations could rise from 6% currently to 16% if the virus persists in the future, and people who avoid visiting restaurants and entertainment venues could double from 9% to 17%.

This is likely to impact city and flagship retail destinations the most, as consumers reject busier locations and public transport.

The extra cash could go towards saving or other parts of the consumer sector, with online retailers particularly well placed to deal with these health concerns. In fact, of those who believe the threat to health to be ‘high’ or ‘very high’, 35% would shop more online to avoid human contact.

But online consumers are also about to get more picky, as 48% said they will try to avoid buying online from international sellers that ship products directly from China if the virus persists.

Finally, just 34% of consumers are worried about product shortages, the survey found.

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