How the coronavirus lockdown affected Brits’ social shopping

The recent lockdown due to the global pandemic had Brits converge to social platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Google Shopping, to satisfy their “urge to shop.” This is not the first time that the UK economy noticed a spike in social shopping. In 2013, social shopping was up at 11% in the UK, based on the findings of Rakuten, with a third of Brits confessing that they have recommended a product that they saw on social media. 

In the same year, Brits were also found to be the biggest online spenders with an average of £1,088 per person every year, which is noteworthy considering that there was no lockdown and Brits were free to go to the shops in 2013.

Today, it is no surprise that Brits’ social spending habits have significantly increased ever since the lockdown, and despite the gradual opening of non-essential shops, people are still not allowed to enjoy sociable shopping due to strict social distancing measures. 

There’s no stopping the Brits from spending their hard-earned money on retail as the closure of shops has fueled a 95% increase in shoppers who discover new products on social media. 

According to ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, “Almost 30% of millennials and one in four Generation Zs have bought an item online during lockdown that they first saw on social media. Instagram, Facebook, Google, and YouTube have all inspired purchases, often after viewing posts from bloggers, celebrities, and friends.”

The significant increase in social shopping during the lockdown came as a shock after the 2019 survey conducted by that asked 1,424 Brit consumers how they feel about social commerce and using social buy buttons. 

The results showed that Brits are far less trusting of social media shopping compared to other countries. 34% of Brits said they are not open to buying items directly from social media, and only 17% of Brit consumers have used a social buy button. 

Majority of the Brits who hesitated revealed that their concerns over security were the most common reason they would not buy on social media, followed by concerns over their privacy. 

What Are They Buying Online?

Between March 24 and April 7, Brits have invested in exercise equipment, beauty products, and loungewear. Despite the price jumps, online demand still soared in the UK. 

As for branded items, the brands UGG, Crocs, and Calvin Klein were the best performing online retail brands during the two weeks of lockdown. 

How Social Platforms Are Changing The Way We Shop

Instagram, one of the most popular social platforms widely used in the UK, is rapidly enhancing their social commerce to entice more brands onto their platform. There have also been rumours that a standalone shopping app is in development

Aside from Instagram, other social platforms are offering a more streamlined shopping experience that will allow them to make in-app purchases. This eliminates the need for online consumers to visit a site to complete a purchase actively. 


The lockdown did not stop Brits from shopping and due to the convenience that social platforms provide, it is with no doubt that Brits flocked to these platforms to shop and grip a fleeting reality that was once the “normal” they used to know. What this means for the future, we can only wait and see.

Want more retail news in the UK? Browse our other topics here at Retail Sector. You’ll be updated with the latest retail news in the industry.


Back to top button