Black and white photo of a woman shopping at The Co-op
July 24, 2015

Do you shop like your nan?

Time travel makes a regular appearance on the big and small screen, but if you woke up in the late 60s / early 70s (like Life on Mars character Sam Tyler), a trip to the local Co-op may be something you’d find familiar. This is because by the mid sixties the Co-op was pioneering the self-service style stores that are now the norm. It was the biggest change in retailing over the past 50 years as instead of having to hand over a list and rely on the shop keeper to serve you, customers could choose what they wanted from the shelves.

Despite opening the first purpose-built, self-service store at Southsea in 1948, the concept took almost 20 years to catch on!

And while fashion and music often reference the past in current trends, it seems shopping habits from the past also make a comeback as The Co-operative Food’s Back to the Future report highlights. A lot has changed since the sixties but the way we shop in 2015 has a retro feel to it.

Here are six ways you may shop like your nan:

1. Have you ditched the big shop?
With almost half of the nation (48%) saying they no longer do a big weekly shop, if you said yes then you shop like they did in the 1960s.

2. Do you shop for food every day?
If you are one of the 3% of people who pop to the shop on a daily basis then you’re following shopping habits displayed by one in three female shoppers in 1965.

3. Do you walk to the local shop?
61% of us today walk to the local shop, and in 1965 68% of people walked, so getting there on foot means you’re probably walking a mile (ish) in your nan’s shoes!

4. Do you usually leave the store with a pint of milk?
It was probably top of your nan’s list when she popped to the shop as it was the number one convenience item in 1965 and still is today.

5. Do you take a shopping list?
No? Your nan probably didn’t either as only one in five carried a shopping list in 1965.

6. Do you usually go to your local store on your own?
In 1965, 72% of shoppers did it by themselves, so if you do too, then you shop like your nan.

So at the end of that have you discovered you shop like your nan?

Read more about how shopping habits have changed (or not) in our Back to the Future: Convenience Retailing Report

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Yes I do shop like my Nan. Daily, on foot and only buy what I need. Nan did make a list. And then I took the book that she had written the list in, to the corner shop, and they then delivered it to the house later that day. Home delivery 60’s style. Didn’t need to buy a pint of milk or a loaf of bread at the shops as these were delivered to the house. Indeed, left on the kitchen table, as the back door was always open. She shopped and cooked for an extended family of five adults and two children this way. No wasted food. The only additional shopping she did was for fresh produce at the green grocer if Grandad hadn’t grown it in the garden and the occasional trip to the local market. I don’t think she set foot in a supermarket until the late 1970’s.


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