Holiday shoppers are coming to town with health checklist: Survey

Holiday shoppers are coming to town with health checklist: Survey

Families wait in line to meet Santa Claus at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City
Families wait in line to meet Santa Claus at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, decorated for the holidays, in Arlington, Virginia, on Dec 23, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

LONDON: Holiday shoppers braving the coronavirus pandemic to buy gifts in person are checking which stores are naughty or nice in terms of public health, a worldwide survey released on Monday (Oct 26) showed.

About 79 per cent of respondents want to see masks being worn, 82 per cent demand visible cleaning efforts, and 76 per cent prioritise reduced occupancy in stores, according to the survey by Oracle Retail, a unit of software maker Oracle Corp .

Contactless checkout and social distancing requirements are also paramount.

"Customers are eager to shop," said Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Retail. "What consumers are looking for is basic levels of protection and safety and they're looking for that confidence that their needs are being looked after."

More than 5,100 consumers were surveyed in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, China, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates in September.

The pandemic has killed more than 1.1 million people and infected more than 41.9 million worldwide, according to a Reuters tally.

Countries have imposed new restrictions as COVID-19 cases have risen again in recent weeks. Wales on Friday banned the sale of all non-essential goods in stores as part of a two-week lockdown, while regions in Italy have announced measures such as shuttering shopping centres.

San Francisco has capped occupancy for storefront retailers at 50 per cent of the normal maximum. At the Californian city's Union Square plaza, shoppers lined up outside the Apple Store and Gucci, where an associate took their temperature.

"A lot of the shops that I go to, they offer hand sanitiser and seem pretty up to date on all the equipment and everything that they have in the shop, so I feel safe going into stores," said 26-year-old Antioch resident Teino Stingley.

Nearly 20 per cent of survey respondents said they planned to shop in-store this holiday season, while 47 per cent plan to split between online and in-store and 16 per cent will opt for curbside pick-up.

"I feel too many people inside of a store makes me uneasy, so I'd much prefer an outside open-air environment," said Param Sharma, 24. "And it's more convenient to order it on the app, pull up curbside, and have them hand it to you."

Fellow San Francisco resident Katrin Eyjolfsdottir, 27, plans to split her shopping between going online and visiting stores for the live experience.

"That's a big part of the whole Christmas holiday spirit," she said. "I think the stores are doing a good job of keeping everything clean and sanitized and following the procedures."

Source: Reuters