Independent stores and convenience formats are experiencing huge fluctuations in demand with shopper behaviours evolving rapidly as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions take place. In the UK, as supermarket shelves emptied, consumers have turned to smaller local stores to meet their needs. 

There are winners and losers, with location a significant factor as city centres empty and demand plummets. Independent players need to remain flexible as their supply chain has been heavily disrupted, with demand shifting across categories and manufacturers changing pack size and product range to respond. There has also been criticism of price manipulation, which is a rapid way of alienating new customers.

Despite the move to online channels for many purchases, consumers want to have the basics available and on their doorstep when it comes to household staples like food, wine and cleaning products. 

The question remains though: is this a short term spike in demand that will fizzle out when our lives go back to normal (or perhaps the 'new normal'). Or will consumer behaviour change permanently, as a result? There is a huge opportunity for independent retailers and convenience businesses to convert this new footfall into longer term relationships. We are creatures of habit, after all.