1 in 5 UK shoppers don’t believe the high street is worth saving

21 per cent of UK shoppers don’t believe that the high street is worth saving as they do the bulk of their shopping online, according to a study by Savoo.

With the pandemic forcing shoppers online, the spending habits of the nation have changed as a result, with only 42 per cent of consumers returning to their old shopping habits.

This figure has decreased 16 per cent since pre-pandemic.

Prior to lockdown, 59 per cent of UK consumers were shopping in real life at least once a week, with more than a quarter (27 per cent) of people purchasing items on the high street at least two to three times a week.

Daily high street shopping has fallen by 3 per cent during the pandemic, down from its original 6 per cent pre-lockdown.

The figure has only increased by little over 1 per cent so far after the easing of lockdown.

The amount of retail space on the high street is also declining, with many locations being turned into housing or office space.

On average, 53 per cent of the high street is taking up by residential space, compared with retail’s 34 per cent.

The top 10 locations with the highest decline in retail space:

Rank Location Current retailing space Average % change 2015-2018
1 East Northamptonshire 33.60% -34.95%
2 Broadland 20.40% -21.67%
3 Southwark 17.80% -12.41%
4 Tower Hamlets 15.40% -11.72%
5 Uttlesford 25.30% -10.77%
6 Salford 38.30% -10.52%
7 Hackney 16.70% -10.46%
8 Three Rivers 25.30% -10.09%
9 Newham 24.20% -9.76%
10 Pembrokeshire 34.60% -9.60%

“What we are already seeing is that retail is becoming more of a showroom for experience rather than transaction,” Sharp End founder Cameron Worth said.

“What we are trying to do now is draw people back into the high street with a heightened and optimised retail experience, which isn’t just around buying stuff but brand experience.”

Retailers are now starting to embrace a different model whereby products are showcased as “experiences” where customers are able to try them out in store before purchasing online.

READ MORE: Amazon opens first physical 4-star store in the UK in Bluewater Shopping Centre

As part of the study, Savoo asked shoppers if they would be open to visiting an ecommerce store if they were open, with the majority (47 per cent) saying they’d visit an Amazon store.

A further 16 per cent said they’d visit an Ebay store if it existed and 7 per cent wanted to visit an Asos bricks-and-mortar location.

Rank Store % of people who like to visit the store in real life
1 Amazon 47%
2 eBay 16%
3 ASOS 7%
4 Shein 7%
5 Boohoo 5%

Commenting on the findings, Ed Fleming, Managing Director at Savoo adds:

Savoo managing director Ed Fleming added: “The high street will never be the same again since the outbreak of COVID-19 as it has accelerated the movement to online shopping that had already started making waves before 2019.”

“The future of retail doesn’t solely lie in the hands of consumers, retailers have a huge part to play too in shaping the future of the customer experience.

“With online retailers offering next-day or even same-day delivery without shoppers having to leave their house, now is the time for the high street to adapt to consumer needs and tap into the key reasons consumers are still going into physical stores.”

Do you believe the high street is in need of saving? Comment below

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