Press Release | 20 Jan 2022

Young adults keen to see digital technology improvements at local corner shops – new Vodafone and Allwyn research reveals

New research from Vodafone and Allwyn reveals that young adults want more online and digital tech at their local corner shops, even more so than lower prices.

  • 50% of young adults in the UK would like to see improvements in the use of digital technologies at their local corner shop, according to new research from Vodafone and Allwyn
  • Research conducted as part of Vodafone and Allwyn’s Future of Retail report, highlighting the ways technology has given retailers a competitive advantage during the pandemic
  • Last year, Vodafone was announced as a strategic partner to Allwyn as it bids for the UK’s fourth National Lottery licence

United Kingdom: Half of millennials and Generation Z care more about increased digital technology in high street shops than prices, new research from Vodafone and Allwyn, an operator of lotteries in numerous countries across Europe and an applicant for the fourth National Lottery license, has shown.

Half (50%) of under 34-year-olds would like to see digital improvements at their local corner shop – but only a third said they’d prefer to see lower prices (31%).

The survey, carried out by research agency Context Consulting on behalf of Vodafone and Allwyn as part of their Future of Retail report, found local retailers need to urgently update their tech if they are going continue to attract younger shoppers.

The poll of 1,000 adults also found that more than half of respondents (51%) said they thought their local corner shop had no digital technology whatsoever.

The most common forms of digital tech being used by local corner shops according to the research were websites (19%), social media (16%), and self-service checkouts (15%). However, only 12% of customers said their local store had a mobile app or loyalty scheme and only 9% said they were aware of online collection ordering services.

There is an opportunity for local retailers to upgrade their use of digital technology to continue enticing younger customers, and provide a smooth and efficient service, the research concluded.

The research does identify a small group of ‘digital innovators’ whose businesses are benefitting from the use of digital technology, including Mosi Patel, the owner of two independent corner shops in Greater Manchester.

Mosi has invested in the development of his own app which offers delivery services and allows him to promote targeted offers to customers based on their shopping history. Mosi also uses social media to connect with customers to ensure he is always able to deliver the best service. Following online feedback from his customers about food cooling down during delivery, he had bespoke heated plates fitted into his four fully electric delivery vehicles.

Mosi Patel, of Premier Heyside, said: “We have invested in developing our own local delivery app. It was a significant step for us, based on the feedback that delivery was very popular with our local community. We may not have 100 drivers, but you get a better service.

“We will always know our communities better than the big brands, and we must not leave the use of customer-facing tech to them. I’d encourage everyone to seriously consider upgrading. It is important to make sure your shop is only one click away.”

Nick Gliddon, Business Director, Vodafone, said: “The shift to digital during the pandemic created new opportunities for small businesses while also presenting many new challenges, especially for the convenience and local sector. A strong foundation of digital technology and skills is now more than a nice to have, it is crucial for small business owners who want to compete and succeed now. We want to ensure small business leaders have access to the right tools and guidance to confidently navigate the digital environment. The corner shop has been one of the most resilient outlets on the high street – we want to ensure that remains the case, and this group of entrepreneurs stays ahead of the competition.”

Justin King, member of the Allwyn Advisory Board and former Sainsbury’s chief executive, said: “It is clear that Covid has accelerated a shift in consumer habits towards the relative convenience of smaller local shops. However, those that are thriving are also embracing the opportunity of digital, be that through online apps and deliveries, or in-store innovations. The upside is significant – but fail to innovate and invest and you will struggle against increasing competition from a combination of dark stores, super fast delivery and ever more locally orientated big chains. Small shops must embrace their natural advantage in being nimble and dynamic.”

Matt Vickers, MP for Stockton South, said: “This report shows there is pent-up demand for technology-enabled local shopping experiences. I would urge small retailers to consider looking at how they can utilise the technology that’s out there to enhance customer’s shopping experiences. I will be raising this matter with my colleagues across Parliament and members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Future of Retail in my capacity as chair to ensure better support for small retailers who wish to move into this space.”

Alex Schlagman, Founding Partner, SaveTheHighStreet.Org, said: “We are in the most transformational period in the history of the high street. Embracing internet and digital technologies will become increasingly critical to the success of independent convenience stores and high streets across the UK. This is what consumers want and the business benefits are clear – from boosting footfall to increasing productivity, improving customer experience and more. As it stands today though, far too many still don’t have the foundations of an online presence or the core skills that they need.

“Technology is our friend not our enemy, and we are working hard to ensure local independents have the support required to make the most of these opportunities over the coming years.”

Last year Allwyn announced Vodafone as its strategic partner in its application for the fourth National Lottery licence. Vodafone has long-standing experience in providing connectivity and technology to businesses and public sector organisations of all sizes to help them operate as effectively as possible.

Find out more about the partnership.


About Allwyn

Allwyn UK is part of Allwyn Entertainment and a competitor for the Fourth UK National Lottery Licence. Allwyn Entertainment is a national lottery, instant lottery and digital gaming operator, with trusted brands and industry-leading technology delivering over €17 billion in annual sales. Established in 2012, Allwyn Entertainment is already one of Europe’s largest and fastest growing lottery companies and our operations are helping to fund good causes in the Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus, Austria, and Italy. The Group’s unique experience of operating in different jurisdictions enables it to adopt a tailored approach to customer experience in each market, helping to increase sales and returns to good causes.

Allwyn Entertainment is a proven lottery operator that embraces the power of digital. With the help of quality partners, such as Vodafone, and our own international expertise, we have applied technology to grow and scale at pace. Customers benefit from our extensive experience in developing new technologies and platforms allows us to provide services safely to players both in their homes and on the high street.

Allwyn Entertainment uses lotteries to support bricks and mortar retail. We work with retailers to increase footfall, improve sales and grow the customer base. We expect lotteries to play a pivotal role in the high street recovery across Europe. For example, we use modelling to identify hot spots for lottery retail sales, allowing for efficient investment strategies in areas with the highest potential. Then, for other areas, we work closely with distributors and retailers to understand root causes and implement growth strategies. Allwyn Entertainment grew its independent, small shop, European retail network by over 30% between 2015 and 2019.

About Mosi Patel:

Mosi Patel left a managerial role in August 2006 at PC World to open his first store, Family Shopper Broadoak, based in Ashton-under-Lyne. Due to its success, he opened his second store, Premier Heyside near Oldham, in 2010. He is an innovator and always looks for ways to beat larger chains on service. His delivery business has grown from one sixth of turnover, when he first started offering it, to a quarter of turnover.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693


Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews


Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

Registered in England No: 1471587