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Death of High Street in face of online shopping greatly exaggerated, but stores have to embrace digital, says new report

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UK shoppers’ ongoing love for the high street experience will keep town centre shopping alive, but they have to embrace the idea that they are part of a digital world and up the game of shop staff if that is to continue, according to a new report.

Online Vs Instore by shopper behavior experts The Market Creative found that 75% of consumers will not desert the high street for online shopping, with nearly half (47%) preferring to get a feel for products in person and almost a quarter (23%) enjoying the social side of going out shopping.

However, 40% of shoppers admit to being online only shoppers most of the time. Ease, price and choice were the main reasons shoppers felt e-commerce would eventually lead to the death of the high street.

But while shoppers’ love affair with the high street will protect it from the pressure of people buying online, almost a fifth (18%) want to see stores develop a more community spirit than consumerist feel. And many want to see mobile technology help to boost this and how shop staff serve them.

The Market Creative surveyed more than 1,000 UK shoppers to better understand the relationship between shopping instore and online.

Sixty per cent of shoppers said they preferred to go instore at some point, whether to research products, try before buying online or just to buy. The majority of respondents (88%) said that staff on the shop floor could make or break an enjoyable experience.

Sue Benson, Managing Director at The Market Creative explains: “Declining footfall and shop closures paint a gloomy picture of the high street. But we shouldn’t underestimate just how much we as a nation love the experience of spending time with friends and family out shopping. The need to see and try products in the flesh will also continue to send shoppers out into towns and city centres.

“A call for retailers to focus more on their communities and less on consumerism means building a richer experience, promoting shopping together, delivering an exceptional service, and encouraging play and engagement on a deeper, less transactional level.”

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