Supply Chain Snags – How COVID has changed Product Demand

How COVID has changed Product Demand

If somebody had predicted the year ahead during 2019, they would probably have been laughed at. Nobody could have expected the rollercoaster year 2020 has shaped up to be, from the coronavirus pandemic through to the worsening environmental disaster. Amidst all of this, the public have been changing their shopping habits, not just in terms of how they spend but also the products that they buy.

As we move towards what will hopefully be a busy and fruitful Christmas period, retailers are scrabbling to get a cut of the action on popular products. It won’t be easy though, with supply chain issues and a slew of problems presented by the state of global affairs. Nobody can say what surprises the rest of 2020 will hold, but here are some of the top consumer trends that we can expect out of what has already been a whirlwind of a year.

Fitness in focus

According to Statista, the UK has around 6.7 million health and fitness clubs sharing nearly 10 million members. The problem is, 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic has seen many of these businesses shut up shop either due to public health concerns or otherwise where mandated to do so by the government.

In the absence of gym, swim and even CrossFit, there are plenty of opportunities for UK businesses who want to take their cut from the nation’s health and fitness sector. From resistance bands and rubberised free weights through to yoga matts and door mounted pull-up bars, there are plenty of products out there that UK consumers are purchasing in their droves. With so many options and such an active customer base, there are very few reasons not to follow the lead of Joe Wicks or even 80s throwback Jane Fonda by taking a foray into fitness. 

It’s also worth noting that the nation’s renewed interest in fitness extends also to more holistic health concerns. The COVID-19 pandemic has evidently renewed our interest in personal wellbeing, and so people are keener than ever to look after themselves both physically and mentally. Ranging from personal journals to houseplants and everything in between, there are many ways for businesses to get involved in the health and wellbeing market regardless of their usual niche.

Move away from the purse

Whilst retailers will be hoping for a big spending drive this festive season, they might not be able to count on the usual fashion accessory staple of purses and wallets. As the coronavirus has seen people turn away from physical cash, it follows that consumers are carrying convenient card holders in place of traditional wallets, purses and money clips. It seems that this year, taking the plunge with a more diverse range of cash carrying fashion items could help businesses to turn an extra profit.

It’s also worth considering how your business accepts payments, since customers may not be willing or able to hand over notes this Christmas. At such a difficult time, perhaps one of the easiest things you can do is to invest in a reliable payment solution – like a contactless card machine from UTP Group. When there are options for instore payments and even a secure online ecommerce payment gateway, there’s really no reason to miss out on customer spending despite this year’s turmoil.

Coffee Conundrum

It might not be a concern just yet, but the world’s coffee supply is under serious strain. Logistics and supply seem set to suffer as widespread lockdowns and reduced workforces continue to hamper the production and processing of the beans in Brazil, Colombia and across African producing countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia.  

As of yet coffee stocks have remained strong in the UK and Europe, but just imagine the sore heads that might emerge from New Years’ Eve without a morning pick-me-up to get them through the day. Apart from keeping tabs on the supply chain there’s not really any way to mitigate against these shortages, but the ongoing coffee situation is certainly one for grocery retailers to watch.

The Communications Boom

One thing that has changed during 2020 is our collective approach to working from home (WFH). As lockdown procedures have necessitated an exodus from offices, people are spending more time than ever in their own space – but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to stay in touch with the outside world.

Whether it’s software like Zoom or laptops that allow employees to keep working despite being away from their desks indefinitely, there are opportunities to be had for tech retailers and entrepreneurs alike. With data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggesting that some 24% of the UK workforce are exclusively working from home, there’s certainly scope for businesses to up their home office offering. That means more computers, phones and printers, but it also extends to office desk chairs and more as the nation gets comfortable working away from their usual station.

Finding a new way forward

There’s little doubt that businesses have gone through a lot of hardship this year, but now isn’t the time for treading water. Whilst riding out the storm might be a top priority for many entrepreneurs, there are a great many opportunities that have been presented by this most difficult of years. From a digital transformation to business investment in a robust payment solution or even a new range of products, there are sure to be plenty of businesses that go into 2021 with a new sense of purpose and perhaps a diversified customer base. Make sure yours is one of them.

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