• UK start-up Shepper reveals new research on the retail impact of COVID-19, collecting data from 500 supermarkets across the UK.
  • The findings reveal that 26% of UK supermarkets have experienced incidences of staff abuse from customers during the pandemic.
  • There is 50% abuse where high barriers to housing and services are combined with a high COVID-19 death rate.
  • 35% of Aldi stores have experienced staff abuse from customers, the most out of all supermarkets measured, followed by Lidl with abuse in 28% of their stores.

Shepper, the UK start-up specialised in crowd-sourced data collection for businesses, has today released new research on the level of abuse towards UK supermarket staff amid the coronavirus pandemic. Using their nationwide network of local people called ‘Shepherds’ who use a smartphone app to collect data, Shepper asked staff in 500 UK supermarkets across the country if they had experienced any abuse since COVID-19 started.

Shepper found that staff within 26% of the 500 UK supermarkets surveyed had experienced incidences of abuse from customers during the pandemic. While 51% of supermarket staff said they had not encountered any abuse from shoppers, staff did provide examples of customers behaving aggressively and “shouting in frustration” while shopping.

The research, which included supermarkets Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi found that 35% of Aldi stores had experienced staff abuse from customers, the most out of all supermarkets measured, followed by Lidl with abuse in 28% of their stores. Morrisons staff had the least amount of abuse, which occurred in 21% of their stores.

Shepper also discovered that there is 50% of staff abuse in stores where high barriers to housing and services are combined with a high COVID-19 death rate.

“It’s saddening that supermarket staff are not receiving the same support that NHS staff have had since the pandemic started. Shop floor supermarket employees have been critical to our society during this challenging time, they are heroes in their own right, working on the frontline despite the risks, to help the nation.

Whilst it’s upsetting to learn that this abuse is so prevalent, we’re glad to have highlighted the issue so that supermarkets can take action to help their staff further. We also hope our insights will encourage the wider public to be more mindful of how we treat those who are doing so much for our country.”

Jan Vanhoutte, Shepper co-founder

Data set

  • 500 supermarkets across the UK audited.
  • Data collected by the Shepper network 26/05/20 – 29/05/20.
  • Retailers included: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi.

About Shepper

Shepper provides businesses with instant data on their most important assets, by combining a Smartphone app and a network of global but local people called ‘Shepherds’ we can check any asset, anytime, anywhere. From properties to billboards, retail displays to insurance claims – Shepper’s Smart Asset Checks are available globally and for businesses of all sizes and industries.

To date the start-up has carried out checks in 25 countries, for over 90 businesses, across 10 different industries.

Shepper’s mission is to help businesses take care of their most important assets, in the smartest way possible, working within a variety of industries including retail, media, property, transport, financial services and utilities. Shepper are revolutionising the workforce and how businesses collect data, by leveraging the power of a global but local on-demand workforce, all whilst reducing carbon footprint and creating a positive impact for local communities.

Shepper was founded in late 2016 in London, by serial entrepreneurs Carl August Ameln, Ben Prouty (previously behind disruptive start-ups Streetcar and Lovespace) and Jan Vanhoutte. In 2018 Shepper raised $5.4M in Series A funding, led by Aviva Ventures, Norway’s Idekapital and Angel investors.

Shepper. Whatever you need checking, wherever it is, we’ll take care of it. Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Shepper, please visit the Shepper Blog. For additional assistance, journalists may contact Sophie Leang, Head of Marketing & Communications at sophie.leang@shepper.com.