New research by KIS Finance has revealed that 61 per cent of consumers are worried the high street will disappear in 10 years following a recent bout of retail closures.
The company commissioned London illustrator Sam Edwards to create an artist’s impression of how our shopping areas may look, which includes drones and on-street click and collect points.
In its poll of 1,000 UK-based consumers, just 14 per cent said they will buy their Christmas presents at physical stores this year. Reasons for shunning the high street during the festive period included too many people in-store (50 per cent), less choice than online (37 per cent), location of shops too far from home (20 per cent) and shops shut during non-working hours (14 per cent).
Meanwhile, 64 per cent said they prefer online shopping during the Christmas period because it is available at all times while over half think it makes it easier to find gifts.
Consumers admitted free parking options might tempt them to visit physical stores more often while 41 per cent said more staff to help speed up the experience would be another incentive. This was alongside clearer stock checking (34 per cent), a 24-hour service (27 per cent) and self checkouts to avoid queues.
The survey also asked consumers what they think the high street will look like in 10 years, with the most likely traders including restaurants, coffee shops and second hand shops and the least likely including indie retailers, travel agents and banks.
Holly Andrews, MD at KIS Finance, comments: “With store closures flooding our newsfeeds recently, we were interested to find out what the future holds for the high street and how consumers’ shopping habits might affect retailers’ footfall. It is obvious from our research that people do still like going into store to shop, but it just isn’t as accessible as online shopping is.”
She adds: “To save the high street many retailers need to ensure that they are thinking innovatively about how to draw customers in with clearer in-store stock checks, more staff and extended hours during busy periods. The reason why so many retailers are struggling with their stores is because consumer shopping habits are changing and the high street needs to change with it, creating a more community led atmosphere with more accessibility and variety for everyone.”