• cheryne fourdrigniez

How COVID-19 has caused a temporary shift in the retail industry

Women shopping, Image by Freestocks.org via Pexels

By Cheryne Lauraly Fourdrigniez

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we shop with more and more people opting to shop locally and online. But now that we’re out of lockdown, shops on the high street are getting busy again and sales are picking up – things are going back to normal and it’s like lockdown never even happened.

Kate Gavin, 31, is brand owner of Little Selfish, which sells an array of leather handbags that are made from “genuine leather and environmentally friendly dyes and materials”. She launched her London-based online brand just as the coronavirus pandemic started creeping up on us back in 2020.

As a business owner, Gavin says that she’s realised a few things about the way shopping is changing. “It’s taking two directions, people are either re-evaluating what they’re buying, focusing more on longevity or they go on shopping splurges because they want to spend money regardless of the situation.”

Harrods department store, Boomerang by Cheryne Fourdrigniez

This is the case for the luxury retail industry as well. A Harrods client service advisor, 24-year-old Aaron Herbert says that although they’re losing a lot of sales, customers are buying in bulk because “people are just bored”.

Excerpt from interview with Kate Gavin explaining her thoughts on the future of retail, credit: Cheryne Fourdrigniez

Gavin says that the pandemic has proven to us that we can pretty much buy anything online but “if I choose to go out, I do it for the experience really,” she says.

New Bond Street, Image by Cheryne Fourdrigniez

Similarly, Herbert says, “Things will go back to normal because in a retail environment, especially a luxury retail environment, you have a lot of egos who want to have the in-person shopping experience because they want to show off.”

This time, Gavin says, “Think about the shops on the 1st of January, they’re filled with sportswear because everyone wants to start exercising as part of their new year resolutions. But how many people actually stick to it? It’s going to be the same with shopping habits”.

Although it seems as though people are going back to their old shopping habits, the brand owner says that she’s excited about what the future of retail entails because we’ve been needing a change in the industry for a very long time.