The first weeks following the reopening of shopping centres shows that the number of visitors is gradually increasing. The main motivation to return for almost 80% of the customers is the need to purchase items that they could not get during the quarantine. Roughly a third of the people refrained from purchasing unnecessary goods such as clothing or shoes during this time and waited for the further development of the situation. The sale of food, drug store goods and medicine continued uninterrupted, though also online to an increased extent. It is evident that the lengthy state of emergency had the potential to significantly influence the shopping habits of Czech households. But what is the reality? That is shown by the results of a survey by CBRE, the manager of 10 shopping centres and 12 retail parks in the Czech Republic, which took place directly among the customers during the month of May.
People shopped online more often during the state of emergency than before. During the quarantine, 31% of the customers started using e-shops for the first time and their experience was so positive that they intend to continue doing so in the future. “Electronics have long been the winner in shopping over the Internet, with two-thirds of customers purchasing in this manner. And the situation did not see a change over the last two months. We also see that roughly every fourth customer who was used to purchasing goods that are not used to satisfy basic human needs (such as clothing, shoes, games, etc.) in brick and mortar shops used the offer of e-shops during the quarantine period,” stated Klára Bejblová, the Head of the Retail Sector Research in CBRE, adding: “Of course the largest increase in orders in the online environment went to food and beverages. Even though a considerable amount of customers will return to the brick and mortar shops following the end of the quarantine, the share of shopping over the Internet is permanently increasing. Every fourth customer plans on buying groceries online in the future.”
In spite of the growing popularity of online shopping, classic shops will keep their irreplaceable role. Customers want to have an experience from shopping and that will even change in the post-coronavirus era. “If people will be able to choose between a visit to a shopping centre and online shopping, only 10% of those surveyed would limit themselves to the second option. A total of 76% of the respondents in the survey stated that they want to continue shopping regularly in conventional shops. In 77% of the cases, they are enticed to shopping centres by sales. People do not plan to significantly change their habits in the areas of entertainment, gastronomy and services, either. At least once a month 25% of those surveyed will head to a shopping centre to go to the cinema and almost 70% will use the offer of eating facilities,” Klára Bejblová commented. Meanwhile, gastronomy is the third strongest reason for visiting shopping centres for almost 50% of the respondents. In fact, for men, singles and young people aged 18 to 25, this share is 60%.
“The Czech retail market was performing extraordinarily strongly in the last five years and, in spite of the high share of e-commerce, can boast high turnovers. In the first weeks following the opening of the centres we have seen a positive trend and the customers’ desire to shop in brick and mortar shops. It is evident that shopping centres will have to focus more on safety and hygienic measures in the post-coronavirus era, but they won’t have to worry about the customers’ attention,” concluded Tomáš Míček, the Head of Property Management Retail in CBRE.
The customer survey took place in the period from 5 to 14 May 2020 with the goal of mapping the changes in shopping behaviour caused by the declaration of the state of emergency, quarantine of the population and closing of the vast majority of retail space in the Czech Republic. The main target group participating in the survey were loyal customers of shopping centres throughout the Czech Republic.
Basic information about the respondents: