June 14th, 2021

Insight article

covenant garden sign

Now that retail has had some time to settle back into the highstreet, we review how brands and retailers have positioned themselves to attract consumers back to their stores.


1.0  A Look at the Landscape
2.0  A Review of our Predictions
3.0  6 Key Themes & Their Important Role at Physical Retail
4.0  Our Perspective
5.0  Bonus: Outlandish Predictions



1.0 A look at the landscape


We predict that we will not truly begin to understand the long-term impact of the pandemic on our highstreet until this time next year. The way that people are currently choosing to spend their time – and will for the next 12 months – is still very much on the virus’ terms. Whether it is due to the continuation of some of the lockdown restrictions imposed by the government, or a lingering anxiety about the virus, there is no doubt that the once spontaneous activity and past time of visiting the highstreet is now a calculated decision involving a much higher degree of planning from consumers.


This said, even when lockdown measures have eased entirely and anxieties subside, we will still not fully understand the impact of the pandemic on our highstreet due to the rise of “COVID Revenge” – a trend and concept that we find particularly funny, although know that it is something to which we, ourselves, will likely fall foul!

If you haven’t yet heard of COVID Revenge, in short, it is a ‘movement’ by which people, even subconsciously, are taking ‘revenge’ on the virus for all the missed opportunities of ‘going-out’ that have occurred (…or not occurred) over the past 14 months. The revenge is taken by making plans to ‘go-out’, over and above what might have otherwise been planned in the absence of the pandemic, to make up on lost time and ensure that the re-found freedoms are
not being taken for granted. Clearly, COVID Revenge plays right into physical retail’s favour as ‘going-out’ well and truly involves hitting the highstreet – confirmed by trending “Revenge Shopping” headlines accompanying the overarching COVID Revenge conversation.


Due to the kaleidoscope of factors contributing to some rather complex consumer attitudes and behaviours, it is impossible to know at this stage where consumers will settle, post-pandemic, in terms of how they will choose to buy and browse. But we can pass comment on how brands and retailers have positioned themselves to re-attract consumers to their stores.

However, before we get to this, we thought it would be quite interesting to look back on some of the predictions that we made in early 2020 about what we imagined the highstreet to look-like upon its reopening, drawing comparisons to what we now know to be true.

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