The Future of the High Street
The high street has taken a huge hit from the recession and the result has been astronomical. The high street is now facing greater challenges and it seems unlikely that improvements will take place any time soon.
The recession combined with the changing needs of the consumer has left the high street almost abandoned and with many retailers struggling to maintain their popularity and secure their place within the retail market. 11% of shops are now empty with 40,000 units remaining unused, the retail industry has shown signs of coming back from the damage of the economic downturn, however small they may be, and the glorious summer weather helped to improve the shopping figures. In July, the retail figures were the best they had been since 2006 and finally the number of retail positions has increased with the number of retail employees on a steady rise. After years of growing concern and speculation over the future of the high street, there are now suggestions that the high street will regain some of its former glory.
Technology has been the biggest downfall of the high street with more people turning to internet shopping rather than visiting the local high street stores, the level of technology that is now found in retail stores such as card machines, state of the art cash registers and interactive displays are far more advanced than ever before and there is a constant need for a faster and better service that will compete against online shopping. Consumers are changing the ways in which they shop and their needs are constantly growing and adapting to include the high level of technology that we have gradually come to rely upon.
The high street has a relatively uncertain future as it has been predicted that the number of stores will begin to fall as the importance of the Internet continues to grow and the popularity of online shopping soars. This is a natural evolution of the high street and although there will always be a need to visit a store and for consumers to see a product before they buy some stores will find themselves taking on an entirely online presence with supermarkets being the main holder of shops and outlets. The high street remains scarred from the economic downturn and is making every possible attempt to repair the damage that was caused whilst competing against the online market.
Most retailers are turning to online stores that secure their place within the retail industry, rather than continually opening physical shops. The retailer needs to grow with its consumers and show the ability to adapt to the technological needs and the evolving attitude of customers that want something instantly and would much prefer to browse products and items within the comfort of their own home onlinerather than visit a high street.
There is no real incentive to choose to visit the high street rather than the online version and many see this as the fastest and most effective way to shop.
As the Internet continues to grow, consumers now spend around 25 minutes a day browsing the Internet, the amount of retail stores will be uncertain and are most likely to fall with the current shop vacancy rate dropping to 10.3%. Biggest names and brands in the industry will depend on their popularity to secure their place whilst smaller retailerscould potentially loose out entirely.