Hybrid shopping now essential for shoppers, reveals new research from Barclays

Click-and-collect transactions are expected to be worth over £42 billion to retailers this year, reveals a new study by Barclays Corporate Banking. The estimated figure comes from its ‘What’s in store for retail?’ report, which polled 2,000 shoppers and 600 retail managers on the rise of hybrid shopping.

The popularity of click-and-collect has continued to grow since the lifting of covid restrictions, indicating it’s here to stay in the post-pandemic world.

Barclays’ data also demonstrates how online and physical retail sales channels are becoming more intertwined. Consumers now research products online and in-store in equal measure across a number of categories, including homewares (34 per cent), fashion (33 per cent), accessories (31 per cent) and garden products (28 per cent).

Almost a quarter of shoppers (24 per cent) say they are hesitant when buying from online-only brands – a figure which drops to just over one in ten (13 per cent) when the retailer also operates a physical store.

But despite the increasing popularity of e-commerce, the majority of shoppers are still using the high street. When asked whether there is a future for physical retail, 67 per cent of consumers agreed. However, there is a clear demographic split: just over half (54 per cent) of 16-24-year-olds believe in the future of the physical store, compared with almost three quarters (74 per cent) of over 55s.

When it comes to retailers, almost nine in ten (88 per cent) feel that operating a physical store is vital to their business’s success. However, many are re-evaluating where their stores are located. Two in five (41 per cent) say they have reduced the number of stores they have in city centres, while 32 per cent have increased their presence in retail parks.

Amid these changes, the cost-of-living increase is creating additional challenges for retailers. Barclays’ research shows that shoppers are aiming to reduce their spending by between 25 per cent and 30 per cent before the end of the year across a broad span of categories.

Karen Johnson, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays Corporate Banking, says: “Perhaps more than any other sector over the past two years, retail has been forced into a period of accelerated evolution. The pandemic drove everyone online, and now the rising cost-of-living is increasing business outgoings while reducing consumer spending.

“Encouragingly, however, businesses are adapting their sales models to weather these financial storms. Links between digital and physical shopping are being evolved, which are opening up new opportunities and ways to generate income.”