Woman in yellow wearing face mask, shopping in sustainable store. Life Solved logo and episode title on left.

Explore the impact of the pandemic on our shopping habits and consumer attitudes

  • 22 June 2021
  • 35 min listen

In this episode of Life Solved, University of Portsmouth researchers explore the impact of the pandemic on our shopping habits and consumer attitudes.

We ask if Covid has changed the way we shop forever and where the trends and opportunities lie for businesses.

Portsmouth local Tati Kapaya heads for her local shopping district to find out how local businesses have responded to a year of lockdowns and restrictions.

And Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan and Dr Lisa Jack share their observations on the high street’s evolution from traditional retail to diverse mixed-use spaces for services. Championing the creativity of retailers during the pandemic, we hear about increasing consumer trends towards upcycling, repair and hire models. Lisa also explains the hidden costs of transitioning to online businesses from bricks and mortar and how return culture is impacting business.

Dr Jason Sit shares his thoughts on the evolving emotional interests of consumers as a result of the pandemic period. He also tells us about research findings into how social distancing impacted our ability to shop with focus during the pandemic!

How has Covid inspired entrepreneurism and innovation in global supply chains? Dr Matthew Anderson and Professor David Pickernell discuss acceleration in sustainable models for fashion, resilience for small businesses and the circular economy whilst offering some hopeful insights into how our trade might be getting fairer and more ethical on a global scale.

You can listen to Life Solved on all major podcast players, whether via Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts or other apps. Just search for 'Life Solved' and press the subscribe button.

Has Covid Changed Consumer Habits for Good?

John Worsey: You're listening to Life Solved from the University of Portsmouth. In this series, researchers will be sharing their thoughts and ideas on how life looks set to change long term as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. At the University of Portsmouth here in the UK, research continued throughout the pandemic to seek ways of meeting the challenges facing humanity today. In June 2021, the crisis still has far-reaching effects on the opportunities, livelihoods, health and well-being of people worldwide. We're exploring how our working lives have changed as well as our relationship with democracy. We're looking at how the crisis has impacted our natural environments and changed sustainability agendas. And this time we're taking a look at how the shopping habits, ideas and concerns of consumers as well as businesses have changed – in some ways for good. Today, University of Portsmouth researchers share their thoughts on how our high streets, economies and supply chains can take advantage of opportunities, and how some of them are adapting to challenging environments. We start with a report from the heart of Portsmouth shopping districts. Tati Kapaya has watched life change throughout the lockdown periods. She's been chatting to local business owners.

Tati Kapaya: Hi, I'm a Tati Kapaya and I have been a local in Portsmouth for the last four years and I'm currently standing on Palmerston Road. Before the pandemic, this used to be a very vibrant place, lots of restaurants, everyone going to the beach. And now it is quite evident that things have quieted down a bit. It's feeling a lot more vibrant these days as things are starting to get back to normal. But I think it will be a few months until it's back to how it used to be.

Connie: I am Connie, I am one of the committee members at The Package Free Larder, I'm also one of the managers here and I volunteer on the committee. We're a non-profit community project to reduce plastic pollution. The more plastic free shops and zero waste shops that open up, the more people will use them. And then hopefully big supermarkets will follow suit as well.

Tati Kapaya: So how did the pandemic affect the business here?

Connie: When we got the keys for the shop, it was at the beginning of March, so before the first lockdown. And then obviously the lockdown happened, it meant that we had to put a pause on the refurbishment and try to see what would happen and if we were able to open again. We had to obviously figure out how to make plastic free shopping Covid safe. We give people a cloth sprayed with sanitiser to wipe down as they go. And we have a rule where you only use one scoop per product. So, yeah, it's been a journey of trying to figure out the best procedures to have in place. But I'm quite confident and I hear from a lot of our customers that the procedures we have in place do make people feel quite safe, I hope.

Tati Kapaya: Yeah, definitely. Whenever I've come here recently, it feels so safe.

Connie: Rota management was an interesting one. Trying to make like mini bubbles of who works with who, so just in case anybody needed to self-isolate. Obviously, we've had to limit the amount of people we can have in the shop at one time, which sometimes does cause queues. And we were quite worried at first about how people would react to that. But I think as a nation, we've kind of gotten used to having to queue now and having to wait a little bit longer. We've noticed a pattern of as we come out of the lockdown's, people seem to be coming back to the shop more frequently. I definitely notice a pattern of people using us as their supermarket more and more, which is really nice. There's certain customers that come back all the time who will buy quite a lot, but they'll bring like so many Tupperware containers and do like a whole food shop, which is really, really nice to see. Hopefully this year in 2021 we'll have more workshops to share with people through our sister organisation Zero Waste Portsmouth.

Tati Kapaya: I can really see that doing so well, especially now that more and more people are becoming more aware of the issues and the environment and how to help.

Connie: We did receive the government grant that small business owners received at the beginning of the pandemic, the ten thousand pound business grant. So that was fantastic and we're really, really thankful for that. But it would be great to see more waste focussed and plastic pollution focussed legislation in place, or just even campaigning and stuff like that. It'll be really-- I think that's really important and necessary from the government.

John Worsey: From a crowdfunded local business with a strong ethical focus and now to a workers cooperative model. Tati caught up with Kelly, a director at Wild Thyme Wholefoods.

Kelly: So that seven of us here who all share an equal responsibility and running of the shop. We sell Wholefoods. It's all vegan. We specialise in organic, gluten free. We have a takeaway juice bar; we make our own cakes and wholesome food on site, as well as like a massive range of groceries and beauty products.

Tati Kapaya: Love that. Very nice. So how do you think the pandemic affected your business?

Kelly: For us, the pandemic just made us really, really busy because obviously lots of businesses and shops had to close but grocery shops could stay open. We were one of very few businesses around that were allowed to operate, not as normal because we had to put a lot of restrictions in place, but that we could operate during the pandemic. So it must have been around late February, March time, the shelves were getting cleared off every night because people were thinking, oh, lockdown is imminent. We have to take stock up on things. So we were kind of trying to manage that. And then the whole way through really, we've just been operating differently, but we've just been really busy. So at the beginning of last year, we had a kind of 10 to 12 month plan to set up a web store and delivery service. We were really taking our time of it, you know, slow strides. We knew we were going to do it eventually. And then obviously, when lots of people needed to have home deliveries because they'd had shielding letters or, you know, they had vulnerable relatives, all of a sudden something that we were going to do in like 12 months, we did in like a month and a half. So we set up this web store. We were really, really fortunate that we had a local person really helping us with that. He was one of our customers and one of our friends. Otherwise, I don't know what we would have done. I think sometimes it just goes to show you something that you think is going to take ages. When you actually have to do it, it's just like bam! Done. Job's done.

Tati Kapaya: So what changes have you noticed in how your customers shop?

Kelly: I definitely think that there is more of an awareness on health and like wholefood and how your diet affects that. I think lots of people have kind of like had the time to really prioritise that if they've been furloughed. But also people have had to think a lot more about their budgets and how they can make food from scratch with more cheaper bulk ingredients. So definitely seen a trend upwards in the wholefoods rather than the kind of like vegan ready to go foods.

Tati Kapaya: Yeah, definitely. I know I've been doing the same like throughout the pandemic, I've just been so much more into organic food and, like, making stuff myself. So I definitely get that. So how do you feel about the future of this high street and businesses like yours?

Kelly: It's a difficult one. It's uncertain I think. We've been really, really fortunate that the past 12 months have been really busy for us. And we're really happy to see all our neighbours, because on this street, pretty much everything else is like a restaurant or a bar or small independent shop, and they haven't really been able to be open. So it's really lovely for us to be, you know, amongst our community again and with our neighbours and for them to be open and hopefully see them thrive and grow. At the moment, we're all really busy and it's great and I hope the kind of trend of prioritising local businesses continues. One of the things that we're going to do is introduce a no carbon delivery service. We've got an electronic bike that we charge with carbon neutral electric. Then obviously, Portsmouth is a very polluted city. We don't exasperate that problem. That's in one way that we want to grow is we want to grow ethically, I suppose, rather than commercially. And I think that people in the Southsea and Portsmouth and around the area are really supportive of initiatives like that.

John Worsey: It looks like Portsmouth is supporting local ethical businesses and voting with its feet. Meanwhile, businesses have reacted swiftly to adapt and survive in response to pandemic conditions and social distancing restrictions. The rise in organic and from scratch cooking is another interesting observation, but is this reflected on the national scale? Dr Lisa Jack is Professor of Accounting at the Business School here at University of Portsmouth. She's been researching issues around retail and online shopping for food. Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan is Professor of Design History and Theory, and has also presented the BBC podcast Trading Spaces, which explored the history and culture of the British High Street and the impact of the pandemic.

Deborah Sugg Ryan: Covid has had a really profound impact on our high street, and some businesses, as we know, have gone under. But some actually have adapted and really done quite well and we've seen some interesting innovation as well.

John Worsey: Deborah says that the High Street is a term that can include many other services like libraries and leisure facilities, in addition to traditional retail.

Deborah Sugg Ryan: What we've got is we've got this this divide between the big national high street chains and the smaller local independent businesses. I think for some of the big chains it has hastened the things that were already in decline. And in particular, we've seen impacts on department stores. So a good example would be Debenhams. Its days were already numbered and it's it's probably exacerbated that decline. We've seen some businesses were maybe less hit because they already had a really good online offer.

John Worsey: Deborah says we're looking at a revival in some kinds of traditional retail as a result of this short term lifestyle shift.

Deborah Sugg Ryan: Toy shops have done really well because we've had our children at home, but also there's been some really interesting evidence that lots of adults have rediscovered their sense of play. So we've had the craze of the jigsaw and those Jigsaw's have got to come from somewhere. And so although a lot of independent toy shops went under quite a while ago, there have been some that have survived that have been doing quite well. The other area, I think is really fascinating is haberdashery and craft. We had all those people making masks and making scrubs. They had to get stuff from somewhere. So we've seen people using their corner shops, but also things like greengrocers and butchers do well, too. And then we've seen some real changes in business as well.

John Worsey: Many bricks and mortar businesses got innovative with social media during the pandemic using Instagram and Facebook to showcase the in-store experience. This approach to building and ordering a delivery system backed up by social media has been a smart approach for some. And longer term, you might be forgiven for assuming it's easy to set up an online version of your business. But Lisa says it's not the answer for all retailers. Primark was one example of a business that chose not to migrate online. Here's why.

Lisa Jack: It's really attractive to bigger companies to be online because the business rates are one twentieth of what they are if you're a bricks and mortar store. So in our research where we looked at the problem of buy online return in store and the costs attached to that, we found that, in fact, it was costing businesses to offer delivery and particularly free delivery and free returns. Yes, it does drive sales. People do want that. But you find is actually quite costly. And just to give you an example, Next plc are planning to spend 12 million pounds in the next two and a half years just to update their website. Because what we expect now isn't what we expected 10 years ago when it was built, so we're talking really quite large sums of money. You have to set up a customer call centre, you have to set up a fulfilment centre. You've got to have the logistics. You've got to have the post. The biggest problem is more people return goods if they're sold online than they do if you sell them through bricks and mortar. Selling on the High Street through stores typically used to have returns of between 8 and 10 percent, of which most were damaged, and occasionally it was because people had changed their minds. And you had also, I'm afraid, a certain amount of customer fraud and pilfering. Online, what we're finding is for garment's in particular, the average rate of return is 35 percent and can be as high as 70 percent. All those have to be handled and what's been reported during lockdown and this is the dark side of what we're talking about, is that customer fraud has increased because there's far more anonymity and far more opportunities if you're using, for example, fake credit cards online where you're less likely to be spotted than if you're acting slightly suspiciously in store. And in fact, what we worked out is it costs a retailer around £3 per item just to have a system in place. And by the time you have up to about 50 percent returns, you've virtually wiped out your profit. Similarly, if you think about it, somewhere like Amazon, they keep their costs down because their items are placed very carefully in bins or on shelves, and a robot can get them. So each size, each colour is in a different space and you know exactly where it is. Primark don't operate on that model. They operate on a pile it high sell it cheap model.

John Worsey: Looking ahead, Deborah has seen some patterns in businesses that are adding extra value for customers to their brick and mortar stores by building a sort of social capital. She thinks that diversifying the use of high streets might also present an opportunity for them to thrive through creative reuse and the making of social spaces.

Deborah Sugg Ryan: So things like the independent bookshop, which it may not be the cheapest place to buy books, but they build a relationship with their customers, that they have space for browsing and coffee. They run reading groups, they have authors, they're doing signings and readings. So that would be one example. The toyshop, one of the toyshops that I have researched is Small Stuff in Sheffield where they've actually taken the opportunity to move into bigger premises in lockdown because they had a business model that they had started pre pandemic, where they were running classes and events and activities. And that's their way of kind of connecting to their customer base. And they've very cleverly built that up through their Instagram feed during the pandemic. And then I think we are going to have these real challenges with some big holes in the high street, particularly the big department stores going. These are massive buildings. And yes, the planning regulations have all been relaxed. They can be converted into housing more easily. And there might be something in having people living where people shop, but sometimes those buildings don't make very good housing. We've had the kind of scandals around some of the office blocks that have been converted into housing. And I think there are other things that could be done alongside retail. So bringing the services that people want into the high street, like doctors surgeries, dentists, and then, you know, alongside repairing kind of upcycling things because there's lots of interests in hands on making or adapting and reusing. So you can see those kind of services. Maybe you don't buy things, maybe you borrow them. And that could be really interesting. Libraries of things. You may want to do a bit of work in your garden, but you don't want to invest in buying that equipment.

Lisa Jack: They've started putting pods inside the carparks of Morrison's, I think it is, which are basically click and collect and return pods for their online business. But you could see that sort of thing being built into one of these centres. So you go for the food, you go for the other activities. But it's an easy way to return and click and collect. There are a lot of small businesses that are working in the business to business space who are looking to create businesses that do the last mile, for example. So instead of having to have lots of lorries for everybody going, it goes to one centre and then somebody else fulfils the last mile. Trouble is, this could be very fragmented and there could be lots of them and we go back to the problem of too many people making lots of small journeys. But there are some really creative ideas going on in the background about how to fulfil orders and things like that. And I would hope that smaller businesses would start being able to make use of these spaces, make use of a better business rate in the area, and some grants to help them boost forward and then link into the online as well to keep that support underneath, like many, many bookshops have done. Now, I'm going to give a shout out to bookshop.org, which positions itself as an alternative to Amazon, but enables you to get your books from independent bookshops.

John Worsey: It seems that the tough conditions created by the pandemic has caused a surge in creativity amongst surviving businesses, and it's testament to entrepreneurism here in the UK. More attractive business rates might just be one way in which High Street premises can become more attractive for businesses that want to integrate online models with socially interactive premises. Hand in hand with our newfound appreciation of social spaces is the fact that many of us adapted to isolation during social distancing. How does that impact our choices as consumers? Dr Jason Sit: is a senior lecturer in marketing here at the University of Portsmouth. He told us how his research uncovered some interesting changes in consumer behaviour during the pandemic.

Jason Sit: My research area is mainly in consumer behaviour, especially about shopping. Anything to do with shopping I'm interested in, could be shopping online, shopping offline, shopping with or without technology. My most recent research are two, one that has got a lot of coverage is about people fear of crowds in enclosed spaces. I want to put the disclaimer out there, the research wasn't designed specifically for Covid, but it does happen that my colleagues using neuro imaging technique – means scanning people's brainwave activity – look at how people react to the sense of other people in enclosed spaces. And what we found is people actually quite fear of crowds and actually distract them from focussing on the task in hand. And we realised that this finding actually quite applicable or very applicable to call it, and especially the easing of lockdown.

John Worsey: In addition to noting the new challenges faced by many when returning to bricks and mortar retail spaces, Jason's been looking at how we decide how authentic an online brand is.

Jason Sit: Traditionally, scholars define authenticity as being heritage, having a long line of operation, being honest, being excellent with production. But all these criteria actually don't apply to online only brands such as ASOS or ao.com. What we found out, interestingly, is people also value accessibility. Accessibility in terms of service, accessibility in terms of product that they normally find on the High Street and then accessibility in terms of prices.

John Worsey: So how do these two research findings knit together in the way people are combining online and offline shopping habits?

Jason Sit: Of course, the fear of mixing with other people definitely is one of the contributors that people moving online because of lockdown and so on. Having said that, I don't think it is the only reasons. I think people do want to go back to physical store and more importantly, there are things that online cannot replace. Things like being able to physically browse, physically try on, and also just being there and experiencing the environment of the design. I think people perhaps will use online shopping to research, to browse before they actually go into the store. And there are certain products that are actually better to buy offline and online, for example, a TV. Of course, some people do buy TV or buy car, but it's not the same. People go and look at into the store and experience the sound system, experience the image quality and also more importantly, returning it. So it might be cheaper to buy online, say, through Amazon. And think about it. If you don't like it and have to return, it is a nightmare. So I think it's worthwhile to, you know, make sure you spend the time and go and look at the product, especially high priced, high risk product. The other trend that we started to see is this kind of collaboration and diversification. For instance, Next is working with Home Base to introduce a garden centre in six of their stores. So this kind of shop in shop, they call it, the jargon they use. Sainsbury's has inhabited Argos. Tesco is working with ao.com, having a pop up in there. Next, I have just introduced Bring back Laura Ashley dot com. So actually, now Laura Ashley is back in business, but purely online. And then within the Laura Ashley website, you will see there's a function shop for Next.

John Worsey: Even big retailers have joined together to adapt, thrive and survive. So where might growth areas lie in the near future? Jason thinks these are connected with the long period of reflection that many of us have experienced.

Jason Sit: This whole interest in wellness products and services, I would like to say, is driven by the sense of betterment. People want to do better for themselves. People want to be better to other people they care for. Be kinder, be more loving, be more gentle. And we realise that these are the things that are actually more important is our self, the people around us, you know, our health, our social circle and our freedom. So that's why I think you see those two linked together. I think retailers need to think more about the wellness product and wellness services, make sure that they actually focus on that and introduce products, whether it be food or drink or services, actually help people to achieve wellness in terms of body wellness, physical health, wellness, mental health wellness, home wellness or even pet wellness. To allow people to better themselves and help them to better people around them. So I don't think people will be chasing trend. So this whole fast fashion like eight cycle a year and so on, I think people are looking for something a bit more quality, things that are comfortable, casual or smart, things that that make them feel good.

John Worsey: Hang on a second. I'm just Googling dog friendly holiday homes. Our final conversation today looks at the future of global business and supply chains. We're going to dive into the sustainability conversation in more depth later in this series. But increased consciousness amongst businesses and consumers of our impact on the planet is top of mind for each of our guests. We got together with Matthew Anderson, a senior lecturer in business ethics here at the University of Portsmouth.

Matthew Anderson: Reports from ethical consumer and Co-op going back to 2010, show a growth from 45 billion in 2010, up to 98 billion in 2019. So quite a significant growth of a wide range of areas this sort of organic, fair trade, sustainable and renewable energy. And also we've seen that continue to grow during the pandemic as well.

John Worsey: Matthew's joined by David Pickernell, professor of Small Business and Enterprise Development. David shared his thoughts on what challenging times have meant for retailers.

David Pickernell: That is something that is very much being used by the more successful retailers in these very challenging times as a way in which they are continuing to maintain either survival or in some cases growth, because they're offering something which is different to the norm in some way and giving you value beyond, if you like, the value of the product itself. It has got that kind of psychological additional value through things like sustainability, but also use of different materials and those kinds of things. It is normally said that crises tend to accelerate existing trends rather than completely go off in new directions. And you can clearly see that in terms of the the mix between online and face to face. But it may be that it's kind of expanded things in ways which are almost like hybrid. So in the same way that you've got sort of hybrid working from home, working in the office, you've also got that hybrid online versus face to face in terms of things like click and collect, I would say they're quite large changes in terms of the way people are maybe starting to look at the, say for example, with clothing, maybe they're now moving slightly away from, say, fast fashion to more sustainable, more ethical brands and ways of doing business. I mean, for example, just looking at the Isle of Wight with Rapa Nui and the way that they recycle products and the way that they're kind of selling is, is something which other firms have undertaken as well. But I mean, I think Matthew, what would you say about how it's been developing?

Matthew Anderson: I think we're seeing a moment of acceleration. But this is this is based on sort of changes both in the retail space and also sort of civil society campaigns that have been around for a long time. Company called Mud Jeans based in the Netherlands, they have a lease model. So instead of buying jeans outright, you lease them for 10 euros a month. So they keep ownership of them. They take them back at the end of their life. They get made into new jeans, but they also take responsibility for repair during your lease contracts. So this is a model that existed before the pandemic, but I think it has benefited from being an online based model so they can they can ship across Europe.

John Worsey: If the pandemic has brought about a change of pace and allowing different innovative areas of thinking, where do the emerging opportunities lie for businesses?

Matthew Anderson: There's a lot of work being going on by ethical consumers, campaigners, governments, trade unions to sort of build these networks. And I think if we're being optimistic, I think we can see there is space for change. Looking again, to what consumers are reporting, we can see some changes around kind of many areas of ethical consumption. So consumers reporting that they'll reduce their use of a single use plastic. So if we look at pre lockdown and post lockdown, so 33 per cent before lockdown saying that they plan or intend to reduce their use of single use plastic, and that increasing to 52 per cent. There are some positive trends and businesses are picking up on this, and actually businesses of all sizes as well. So from the smaller companies like Rapa Nui, through to Amazon. Amazon's got it's climate friendly products, which I think is an interesting and potentially quite challenging development for some of the smaller companies.

David Pickernell: And I think I think picking up on that in terms of the ethical sustainability side of it, because of Covid putting pressure on, for example, global supply chains, I think there's been some movement, certainly by the larger firms but I imagine also the smaller firms as well, towards more localised supply chains. Because of moving towards a more resilient as opposed to a low cost supply chain. And that kind of then also links in with ideas around an increased focus on what they call the foundational economy, which is about the things that have to take place. The people have to have local to them. And certain elements of retail, clearly, food retail is one of those historically that has. If the activities continue in terms of this balance between the face to face and the and the online, you're going to see I suspect there's going to be more employment in things like warehousing and the distribution side of things, either to the point at which people click and collect or at the point at which is delivered to their home. So that's going to cause some reorganisation and rebalancing of kind of transportation systems in that place.

John Worsey: And it's not just the food and clothing sector that are influenced by changes in consumer thinking.

David Pickernell: We live in interesting times when it comes to trade in a wide range of goods and services, and also that will have knock on effects. For example, where we get products, you know, including things like cars, which again, and maybe that's been hit by a different set of circumstances. I mean, the balance between public transport and private transport may be something, again, that the pandemic has kind of opened up that question again in a way that probably hasn't been really thought about for 30, 40 years in any meaningful way by the majority of the population.

John Worsey: Beyond the UK, Matthew says that sustainable local markets aren't just changing the supply chain dynamic. They also offer some protection for communities from the most dire economic consequences of the pandemic.

David Pickernell: I was just thinking about that discussion between kind of local and global, and it is a debate that has been going on within fair trade for many years, balancing, supporting local farmers compared to buying fair trade products. And I think an interesting dimension that's gained a bit of pace recently is around sustainability, but actually looking at that in a slightly different way. So looking at kind of embedded carbon within products that we tend not to include within our calculations of sort of UK carbon, and how that is kind of equitably divided between nations, between producers. And I think that's one part which is really interesting. The second is, is actually a growth of kind of more local markets for many of these Fairtrade products. So emerging middle classes in India, South Africa, Kenya, where there's also actually fair trade markets for for their own products. And that also has an interesting sort of a moment of reflection for kind of the fair trade movement about what it's really about. Is is it about consumers in the north buying from producers in the global south, or is it mainly focussed on kind of a fair price or is it connection between consumers and producers? And also this, the language we use because people that produce things are also consumers. So, yeah, I think it's a really interesting time. A lot of those countries, particularly India at the moment, are going through very challenging times with Covid as we're seeing kind of further kind of some waves developing and certainly some of them seeing or using fair trade as a sort of resilience mechanism. So the additional social premiums now going directly into Covid response.

John Worsey: David also mentioned the need for city centres to diversify into leisure, entertainment and dining hotspots so that consumers who still do want the face to face shopping experience can enjoy a range of benefits as added value. He says this is just one innovation that promises a better consumer experience.

David Pickernell: So it becomes, it becomes a day out. It becomes part of almost like a tourist offering rather than just a retail offering. I think there are these innovations going on and they're just kind of pushing things to the next level with a lot of what they're doing. And I think the pandemic has probably for some of those firms, allowed them to test things out and to get more feedback than they would normally do. So, for example, you think about, you know, the growth of shopping where you're not going through a till with a person, but you've got the the little handheld device. Because of the nature of the pandemic, a lot more people have been using that. And therefore, they probably got a lot more data that they can then work out the extent to which that's useful.

John Worsey: It seems that interest from consumers in how people and environments are treated by suppliers has continued to rise as a result of the pandemic. Jason's point about our wish to make more meaningful buying decisions and find value connects with what Deborah and Lisa said about a rise in certain lifestyle led sectors of retail during the pandemic. But we've also heard how online only or face to face only are just two models in a complex, holistic and hybridised future for shopping and supply of products and services. If you found this podcast interesting, please do share it and join the conversation using the hashtag Life Solved. Next time, we'll be looking at how our relationship with technology has changed as a result of the pandemic and what impact this is having upon opportunities for women in the workplace. You can follow this podcast on your favourite app and find out more about our researchers and their projects by going online to port.ac.uk/research. Thanks for listening.

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