High Streets Initiative ยท 15 January 2019

Why shoppers won’t mourn the death of the UK high street

high street
The ease of online shopping was cited as the biggest threat to bricks and mortar retailers
Almost 40% of Britons wouldn?t care if the traditional UK high street disappeared, new survey findings have revealed, with online shopping already filling the void.

According to a poll of almost 2,500 adults, commissioned by global affiliate network Awin, apathy to the bricks and mortar retail experience is stronger than ever, with online shopping the high street?s ?outdated? appearance the main drivers.

When asked how often they shopped on their local high street, the most common answer was ?almost never?, cited by 35% of respondents. Around a fifth said ?sometimes? or ?never?.

Just 17% said they regularly shopped locally, with only 8% always visiting their local high street ahead of ecommerce stores.

Read more:

Shoppers reveal 5 reasons why the high street is struggling

1. Shopping online is easier ? 73%
2. Laziness ? 53%
3. You can get everything on a single site like Amazon ? 46%
4. Next day delivery ? 42%
5. Easy and convenient to return online items ? 39%

Respondents were then asked how they would feel if their local high street vanished altogether.

While 48% revealed that they would care, 39% said it wouldn?t bother them at all. Rarely using their high street was the most common reason for apathy, with the presence of online shopping also shaping opinion.

Of those who would care if their high street disappeared, job losses (31%) was a more popular reason than a genuine love for the physical shopping experience (20%).

Commenting on the findings, Kevin Edwards, global client strategy director at Awin, said:

“The challenge to our high streets is starkly highlighted by these findings. Much has been made of the need for our high streets to create a sense of place and occasion as well as somewhere that people can shop.

“While online continues to grow apace, it?s in the interests of many multi-channel retailers to want to ensure our high streets thrive as community assets.”

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.