How businesses and customers have adapted during Covid

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Businesses all over the UK have had to adapt and change very quickly since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. Lockdowns and restrictions have had a huge impact on the way businesses operate, with some of the biggest impacts being on the retail, travel, entertainment and hospitality industries.

With restrictions lifting from July we’ve seen a lot more positive growth from each sector. People returning to normality spending in bars, pubs and clubs saw an increase of 43% in August 2021. As businesses welcomed their staff back to the office families spent more on days out and staycations across the UK. One of the biggest contributors to the economic boost, came after restrictions eased to allow outdoor dining in April.

August, at the peak of summer and one month after all restrictions had been lifted, saw a booming month for the entertainment sector with spend increasing by 24%. Lifted restrictions allowed a bumper month for festivals, day trips and family activities such as zoos, theme parks, indoor climbing and aquariums. In Yorkshire we were happy to see that Leeds festival went ahead as well as the many food and drink festivals across the county that were previously cancelled the year before. Closer to home we were pleased to see Brodstock was able to run it’s excellent fundraising festival after a cancellation in 2020, Yorkshire Payments were proud to provide Brodstock with their card payment machines for the second time.

During lockdowns, as shops, restaurants and entertainment closed their doors, consumers turned to online shopping especially for ordering groceries and takeaways. Businesses who purely operated on the high street who were not set up online adapted their model and operations to fit the new online shopping trends. Yorkshire Payments helped many businesses get set up online to tackle the new demand. See our case study about Kebabeesh who we helped to adapt their restaurant to accept online orders for their takeaway system.

In 2020 the UK saw the largest online shopping sales ever, only behind China and America globally. By the end of 2020 online sales counted for 30% of total retail sales, a 10% increase from the end of 2019.

These statistics remained relatively unchanged even after the high street reopened. Large numbers of shoppers wanted to stay at home as a precaution to avoid crowds and queues and more people over the age of 65 began to use online services. Some forecasters predict that by 2023, numbers will stabilize to far higher than anything pre-pandemic.

It’s not just online transactions that’s seen an increase. Debit card transactions have increased by 21% between Jul 2020 and July 2021. Contactless payments counted for 67% of these transactions. Contactless transactions has seen an ongoing increase since 2019.

British consumer spending on credit and debit cards rose slightly in the week to Oct. 7 to 102% of its level in February 2020, before COVID-19 lockdowns, the Office for National Statistics said.

It has been a tough few years for businesses and consumers but statistics show that spending and the economy is beginning to see positive growth. Though this growth is not on par just yet with pre-pandemic levels there are positive signs that adapting and being resourceful is having benefits on the UK economy and industry sectors.

If you are a business who isn’t set up to take online payments or card payments, give our Customer Care team a call on 01422 323785 who will happily talk through your options and what products are available to you. We also have a showroom for customers to try before they buy, book a free consultation and see how we could help you.

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