THE retail industry has been boosted by the rise of “in-home” products and services such as online workouts and DIY meal kits.
In fact, the sector is to be worth £168MILLION over the next year.
With lockdown closing the high street, businesses across the UK have been forced to diversify their offering.
The challenging situation has created a boom in the popularity of “insperiences” – products or services offered by retailers to be enjoyed at home – with the market set to rise in value by 32 per cent over the next year.
Research from Barclaycard Payments found that a third of retailers launched innovative products and services designed specifically to be used at home during the months of lockdown.
And 88 per cent of the businesses which got involved said their decision had increased sales.
The decision to diversify offerings has paid off with the public, with 63 per cent of UK adults having tried an “insperience” or are planning to do so.
Virtual gym classes have been the biggest success with 30 per cent of adults taking part, followed by virtual pub quizzes (28 per cent) and DIY meal kits (20 per cent).
Barclaycard Payments, which processes almost half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, estimates the sector will be worth £168 million over the next year.
The financial boost for businesses who have been quick to adapt also benefits the workforce, with 43 per cent reinstating furloughed staff to fill insperience-based roles.
Retailers offering “insperiences” have created an average of 15 new job roles each since the beginning of lockdown.
High street queen Mary Portas praised the “ingenuity, adaptability and creativity” of Britain’s retailers.
She said: “The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a new era of shopping and living.
“Now more than ever, people want to enjoy the experiences they’ve always been given, but from the comfort of their own homes.
“Retailers that enable ‘insperiences’ will continue to thrive, even as we emerge from lockdown and enter the ‘new normal’.
“There’s no escaping the fact that we’re facing the biggest economic challenge in living memory and experiencing a recession more serious than we’ve seen before.
“If businesses can celebrate anything from the past three months, it’s their ingenuity, adaptability and creativity, which have created a much-needed lifeline as they navigate these challenges.”
The top reasons Brits enjoy “insperiences” include that they are fun (27 per cent), novel (26 per cent), and that they can manage their time more efficiently (31 per cent).
As such, 39 per cent now intend to work out at home more even after gyms have reopened, and 28 per cent say they will continue having digital drinks once pubs and bars return.
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Kirsty Morris, managing director for account development at Barclaycard Payments, said: “Lockdown has undoubtedly been challenging for retailers.
“But it’s promising to see how many have been quick to cater their product lines to consumers looking for entertainment and personalised products while at home.
“Over the past few months we’ve helped many of our merchant customers transition to take advantage of the insperience economy by setting them up to start taking online payments, which is testament to their agility as they’ve adapted to the ‘new normal’.
“With more businesses now online, we expect the demand for insperiences to continue even as lockdown restrictions ease.”