Despite the rise of online shopping – made even easier with the proliferation of drone delivery services – or maybe because of it – it seems the British have not fallen yet out of love with high street shopping. New research shows that four out of five shoppers (81%) would miss a quick trip to their local parade if it was no longer there.
However, the research that was commissioned by Visa in their role as sponsors of the government-run Great British High Street Awards 2018 – a new event to find the nation’s leading high streets, also reveals that despite this local shops no longer meet the average shoppers retail requirements, and nearly a fifth of the respondents stated high street doesn’t have enough shops and services to suit their needs.
“High streets are crucial in creating jobs, nurturing small businesses and driving local and regional economies”
Interestingly, despite consumers concern about the lack of choice, and the low overheads of companies, such as Amazon, over half of UK’s independent high street shop owners are hopeful about the future with four in ten (40.7%) independent retailers describe themselves as ‘optimistic’ about the future of their local high street and more than one in ten (12.3%) said they were ‘very optimistic’. Less than one in five (17.1%) felt pessimistic.
Discussing the awards and the findings of Visa’s research Communities Secretary Rt Hon. James Brokenshire MP said: The Great British High Street Awards acknowledge in a very important way how high streets are so vital to our nation. High streets are crucial in creating jobs, nurturing small businesses and driving local and regional economies. We want to celebrate the best examples of high streets, as well as those individual businessmen and women playing a leading role. The Government is doing everything in our power to ensure high streets continue to thrive.”
Asked what would encourage consumers to visit their high street more and over half (51.9%) said more shops, over a third (36%) said better parking or transport facilities and more than a quarter (27.8%) said extended opening hours.
“High street merchants help to establish and preserve bonds within communities”
Suzan Kereere, Visa’s head of merchant services in Europe, added: “Visa is very proud to be supporting the Great British High Street Awards at a time when the nation’s high streets are transforming as both technology and consumer behaviour evolve, with consumers looking for a range of different experiences on their high streets. Businesses and communities have shown themselves to be highly adaptable, resilient and creative in meeting these demands.
“Visa is committed to finding innovative ways to support merchants and consumers and helping communities and economies to thrive. High street merchants help to establish and preserve bonds within communities that are as valuable as the economic benefits they generate.”
For more information about the Great British High Street Awards 2018 and to enter visit: www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk.