The change in shopping habits caused by successive lockdowns during the pandemic does not benefit small shops – says Magdalena Wilgatek from the Market Monitoring Center (CMR). In her opinion, by the fourth wave of the pandemic, trade is better prepared and the effects of any restrictions will be less noticeable.
According to the CMR expert, one should not expect a repeat of the first weeks of the pandemic, which many retailers may recall as being extremely beneficial for the turnover in their outlets. – Polish people getting used to the pandemic and the threat posed by the possibility of infection, as well as changing shopping habits, do not serve small-format stores – she pointed out.
The first wave of coronavirus
As she noted, changes in customer behavior were triggered by the first wave of the pandemic. – On the one hand, we had a number of administrative restrictions, such as hours for seniors, limits for people in stores, and on the other hand, consumer concerns – she added.
– Then there was a decrease in the frequency of purchases, with a simultaneous increase in the average value of the basket, thanks to which the value of sales remains at a level similar to that in the period before the quarantine. We also saw an increase in sales of products with a long shelf life and a decline in sales of impulse products, she said.
– Moreover, it was a time of sales growth in small stores located close to home – she emphasized.
Shops in the second and third waves of COVID-19
According to Wilgatek, in the second and third waves of the pandemic, it was evident that the introduction of additional restrictions, such as the closure of schools, restaurants, cinemas and gyms, as well as shopping centers, reduced the number of people leaving the house. – This, in turn, significantly influenced the lower frequency of visits to small-format stores, especially those of an impulse nature or made on the way to school or work – she assessed.
– Today we are definitely more experienced. We have learned to function in new conditions – she added.
According to the expert, the stores are in many respects ready for the next wave. – Protective walls at the cash registers remained, they are still valid with masks and antibacterial liquid dispensers. Taking into account that more than half of the population in Poland is vaccinated, it seems that stores will not have to meet greater administrative requirements – she pointed out.
Shops in various locations
As she assessed, the period of the greatest restrictions was extremely difficult for shops located on busy streets, at communication and transfer points.
She added that for some establishments, especially those located in the vicinity of which there is no large-scale competition, the effects of further restrictions related to the pandemic will certainly be much less noticeable.
CMR is an independent research agency specializing in analyzing transaction data obtained electronically from cash registers installed in grocery stores.
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