Today, leading global payment service provider, emerchantpay, publishes the first instalment of its New World, One Market Report, a new research study examining consumer behaviour when it comes to post-pandemic payment preferences. Chapter One of the study reveals that the national shift to digital payments, which has been dramatically accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is here to stay.
Despite British high-streets reopening on the 12th April, it appears that the pandemic has caused irreversible change when it comes to consumer behaviour. Our own research found that one in five consumers said they’d be inclined to shop less on the high street now versus before the pandemic. This equates to £74.6bn potential revenue opportunity for online retailers. Equally, retailers that don’t seize the chance to go online could be missing out on a significant consumer audience.
This move away from the high street is particularly apparent in older shoppers, with over a quarter (27%) of Gen X (42-57 year olds) and Baby Boomers (58-76 year olds) less likely to shop on the high street post-pandemic, in addition to 25% of The Silent Generation (77+ year olds).
For those that do choose to shop in-store, payment habits have changed. A quarter (25%) said they will use their mobile phone more to make payments in store now versus before the pandemic. Responding to this demand, retailers need to adopt a multi-channel strategy that offers their consumers flexibility by supporting payments and purchases across multiple platforms.
Diminishing footfall on UK high streets is nothing new, but the sudden acceleration of online shopping across all demographics presents challenges for retailers that do not have a unified commerce strategy or the correct payment infrastructure in place. The pandemic has pushed digital technology into the mainstream, and merchants should look to take advantage of this by optimising products, services and payment processes for eCommerce, as well as ensuring in-store infrastructure caters to today’s payment preferences. Increasingly, seamless real-time unified payment solutions must be prioritised in a retailer’s overall commerce strategy.
Jonas Reynisson, emerchantpay’s Founder and CEO comments: “This research comes at a pivotal moment for British retailers, many of whom are having to rethink their entire business model to survive in the post pandemic world. By sharing tangible insights into the behaviour and preferences of today’s consumer, we can support retail businesses as they strengthen their payment strategies in the months ahead. While the findings may vary by generation, what’s clear is that a unified commerce strategy is more important now than it has ever been.”