Britain’s traditional main shopping thorough-fares have been eroded by the boom in online shopping after the emergence of huge out-of-town malls and stores drove the initial nail into their coffin. But the majority of us still have a perception of what the high street should be able to provide, with a decent bakery, a good DIY shop, and independent clothes outlet all making the list. An energy provider, restaurant and barber were also hailed as a must, along with a supermarket and shoe shop. Worryingly though, just eight percent of the 2,000 adults polled currently do the bulk of their shopping locally, preferring to drive or use public transport to top up at larger shops and supermarkets. And while eight in 10 do make the effort to use their local high street many think it lacks the outlets they require to get everything they need from one trip.
Three quarters said they were worried about the decline of their high street, and 32 percent said the retail outlets which are left, such as betting shops and beauticians, aren’t what is needed.
Researchers also delved into the reasons why the local high street is being neglected by so many – and found one in three avoid it amid a worry goods are generally ‘more expensive’.
Bill Bullen, CEO of smart energy provider Utilita, which carried out the research to celebrate the opening of its second hub in Southampton, said: “As this study shows, there is a real desire for the high street to remain a fruitful and central part of any town or city; Brits like the idea of having one place where they can access all their products and services.
“However, not enough people are shopping on the high street and this means many businesses are finding it unsustainable and are therefore closing down.
“If people want to see their local shopping area do well, they’ll need to invest a little more time and money in the businesses currently there.”
The OnePoll.com study also found other shops adults are keen to see locally include record shops, vegan shops, and jewellers.
Furthermore the average adult visits their local shopping area twice a week, but spends just £23 in total in the process.
One in three aren’t impressed with the shops, while expensive parking puts off three in 10 shoppers.
Limited choice is a factor for four in 10 and busy Brits often find it more convenient to shop online.
However, given the opportunity, shoppers would prefer to buy something from a ‘real person’ than via the internet, and four in five love to converse with shop workers when purchasing something in-store.
Bill Bullen added: “Our high streets are important economic hubs, the small and micro businesses – thousands of which we supply – on them forming the backbone of the UK economy.
“But they are more than this; they are the beating heart of communities across the nation.
“It’s why we want to support high streets by launching a national roll-out of Utilita energy hubs following a successful trial venture in Gosport, Hants, in 2018.
“Our Southampton hub launched just days ago, and similar stores will open in Edinburgh, Derby and Bradford – to name but a few – over the months to come.
“This will have long-term benefit for us and the communities we serve, in addition to giving customers the face-to-face service they crave as Utilita brings energy back to the nation’s high streets – in every sense.”
Shops Brits want on the High Street
2. Independent clothes shops
5. Handyman / DIY
6. Record shop
7. Shoe shop
8. Chain clothes shops
9. Post Office
10. Luxury clothes shops
12. Gluten free / Vegan shops
15. Energy / utility providers
18. Coffee shops
20. Charity shops
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