Lockdown has led to the UK becoming a nation of online shoppers – with millions planning to continue their digital spending spree despite restrictions being lifted.

A study of 2,000 adults found 61 per cent shopped online more than usual during lockdown, with a staggering nine in 10 planning to shop as much online, if not more from now on.

Groceries, and home and garden products were at the forefront of items purchased online, with 41 per cent of adults making at least one of these purchases during lockdown.

And three fifths of the adults polled now plan to buy groceries online in the future, with sales figures of meal kits purchased over the internet soaring by 114 per cent when people were urged to stay indoors.

Stefano Rossi, packaging CEO at packaging firm DS Smith, which commissioned the research, said “There has been a seismic shift in the way consumers are shopping.

“What’s clear is that as lockdown eases further, these trends aren’t likely to fall away.

“Consumers have found new confidence and convenience in the way they shop, buying a whole range of items online – everything from the family food shop, to toiletries and home and garden products.

“If companies are not already transforming their business to meet this new age of e-commerce, they risk being left behind.”

The study also found shoppers are buying in new ways and from new suppliers, with nearly a third signing up to a new shopping website that they hadn’t used before lockdown.

DS Smith also saw packaging demand double for food, flowers, and hygiene products sold online since the start of the pandemic.

Reasons for buying online differed both by age and gender, with men and younger people prioritising convenience – while women and older generations focused on safety.

But some of the in-store habits remain despite the switch to online shopping, with a third saying they still ‘window shop’ by browsing websites and keeping a wish list of the items they want to buy.

And more than one in three enjoy bargain hunting even when shopping online.

However, sustainability has become an increasing concern with almost a quarter more likely to buy online if items are delivered with less or more environmentally-friendly packaging.

Another 21 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, are more likely to shop online if their products arrive in more recyclable packaging.

Those aged between 25 and 34 were most conscious about sustainability, while women held this as a higher priority than men.

Stefano Rossi, packaging CEO at DS Smith added: “The research shows that greener packaging is a real concern for shoppers and as we help our customers make a green recovery a practical reality and priority through simple measures like adopting sustainable packaging.

“We’re keen to help brands and businesses navigate this path and work with them so that they can benefit from sustainable packaging solutions that its very clear their customers desire.”

ENDS

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