Shoppers moving away from malls, prefer shopping from stores close to home: EY survey

The survey also found that consumer behavior in electronics, cosmetics and household appliances is changing, with around 40% of customers preferring to shop online.

In-store shopping is undergoing a radical change as customers seek efficient shopping options to limit exposure outside their homes and protect themselves from the pandemic. While 78% of customers would avoid crowded stores, 76% of customers are unwilling to spend more than 30 minutes in a store, according to a survey by Ernst & Young (EY). 76 percent of customers also said they would like their purchases to be cleaned up again at the time of purchase.

EY’s survey of India in India, titled Living in a Pandemic: Future of Retailing, found that pre-purchase considerations have lengthened as the customer now thinks much more about it before actually making a purchase.

46 percent of customers opted for new grocery stores (compared to regular stores) because of the proximity, better disinfection measures and the smaller crowd. Customers are wary of traveling long distances to shop in their preferred locations. 67% of customers are unwilling to travel more than 3 miles to shop. Around 50% of customers who prefer to shop in malls and multi-brand stores said they would now prefer to shop in places closer to where they live.

When it comes to electronics, cosmetics and household appliances, buying behavior is changing, and around 40% of customers prefer to buy online. For jewelry, automobiles and furniture, customers still prefer to buy through offline channels, with less than 20% of customers reporting willingness to make online purchases in these categories.

70% of respondents were concerned about hygiene and safety and said they would switch to other brands that mattered to them, while 56% prefer brands that offer better online services and delivery. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they would wear protective clothing such as masks and gloves when shopping, and would also wear disinfectants.

In a post-pandemic world, 69% of respondents want to know about the products without touching them or taking them off the shelf. The majority of customers are also willing to pay a premium to help retailers make their in-store shopping experience faster, more seamless and more contactless, the survey found. A majority of customers would prefer to pay through UPI or digital wallets and use self-checkout kiosks.

Customers are also cautious about reducing spending on non-essential goods. In the grocery and non-prescription health care categories, net spending increased 20%, according to the survey.

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