Media & Insights

Majority of Britons gear up to hit the shops when retail reopens

6 April 2021

  • 84% of people say they are likely to visit their local high street or shopping centre the week following non-essential shops reopening
  • The key attractions to in-person shopping are being able to enjoy other leisure activities (31%) and socialising (24%)
  • Over 50% of Britons expect to be shopping in-person at the same frequency as they were before COVID-19 by summer 2021

As non-essential shops prepare to reopen their doors for the first time in months, 8 out 10 adults in Britain are set to visit their local high street or shopping centre in the following weeks. 

Shopping as part of an experience will drive higher footfall into stores. According to research by Landsec, 55% of the public are most excited about bundling socialising and leisure activities (e.g. music, sports) alongside an in-person shopping trip this April.  

While the green light for retailers to resume trading will be met with palpable enthusiasm, health and safety measures will continue to be paramount. Two-in-five survey respondents indicated their apprehension in catching Covid-19 while one-in-three are afraid of spreading the virus to others. Although the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) concluded that retail has a low impact on the transmission of the virus, social distancing rules such as wearing face masks and limiting the number of people inside enclosed spaces will likely continue in the medium term.1

Other encouraging signs are also emerging. Looking at consumer behaviour and retail spending, many have had positive experiences with online shopping, but the majority do not expect to continue buying exclusively online. In fact, three-in-four (76%) UK adults believe they will revert to the same level of in-person shopping that they engaged in before the pandemic, by the autumn.

Bruce Findlay, Managing Director, Retail for Landsec said: “As the reopening of the economy draws nearer, it’s clear that people want to get out and about again. Many attitudes have certainly changed as a result of the pandemic but the human desire to come together has not. There is still a strong appetite for physical shopping and in-store experiences which cannot be replicated online. The right stores in the right locations that reconnect our communities will thrive.”

1Our visitors’ health and safety remain our number one priority. Landsec is incredibly experienced in keeping its centres safe and clean and is well versed in managing the re-opening of non-essential retail.  In accordance with the law, all visitors will be required to wear a face covering in our locations. Without a mask, our teams will ask people to leave unless they are exempt. In order to manage capacity and ensure social distancing, we have implemented one-way systems, signs and floor stickers and may ask visitors to queue out at busier times.

The online survey of the UK public was conducted in partnership with Portland, which is accredited by the British Polling Council. Portland polled 1,319 nationally representative UK adults (aged 18+) by age, gender and NUTS 1 region based on the 2019 ONS census estimates. For any questions about the methodology, please contact: