Will our high street die?

Friday, January 20th, 2017

With UK shoppers’ weekly online spending reaching £1 billion, a new report by Parcel Hero reveals the death of the high street may be closer than we think. The e-commerce fulfillment specialist has put together a report called 2030: The Death of the High Street, which suggests that in just 13 years’ time, online shopping and home deliveries will have impacted the nation’s retail habits so much that over half of today’s town Centre stores will be no more.

Parcel Hero’s report states that in 1950 there were 600,000 stores in the UK, in 2012 there were 290,000 and just 220,000 will survive by 2020, according to The Centre for Retail Research. “With home deliveries increasing exponentially, the decade from 2020 to 2030 will see a further 100,000 stores close if this trend continues and e-commerce grows exponentially, leaving just 120,000 shops on our high street,” reads the report.

“By 2030 e-commerce will account for around 40% of all UK retail sales.”

The firm has offered some advice to independent physical retailers. It believes the high street must ‘return to a Victorian model’. “Shopping should become a more social experience again with local food deliveries increasing: based on Uber-style crowd source Apps. Homes must also return to UK high streets to prevent no go areas after 6pm,” suggested Parcel Hero.

The BRC’s latest figures noted that e-commerce accounted for nearly a quarter of all purchases in December, suggesting that online shopping in more popular than ever. However, high street stores did see a footfall increase of 0.8% during December compared to the same period in 2015, indicating that there is still a chance to revive high street shopping.

Mindtree’s associate VP, Anil Gandharve, believes that the answer is for retailers to ‘stay ahead of the trend and future-proof their businesses. “The news that high street footfall rose by 0.8% compared with last year will come as a welcome boost to retailers amidst a challenging period for bricks and mortar stores,” said Gandharve.

“Yet stores cannot afford to rest on their laurels, with online rivals investing vast sums in research and development to ensure they stay ahead of the trends. “Only by ensuring they deliver a personalised in-store experience can high street retailers future-proof their businesses against the rising tide of nimble, online challengers.”


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