The UK High Street in 2022

Our spending habits have changed drastically over the last 18 months as the world of retail has been forced online because of the global pandemic.

Alongside the ever-growing takeover of the digital world, the retail sector has transformed significantly to appeal to a new kind of consumer, with high-street shops and the way we purchase goods set to never be the same.

Savoo has conducted a survey with consumers to find out the current state of retail, consumer attitudes towards shopping and what we can expect because of these attitudes in 2022

A hybrid of retail, housing, and hospitality.

The high street is no longer solely made up of retail spaces. Residential housing and office space is fast filling the high street as well as local services and hospitality.

Research conducted by SAVOO has found that on average, the residential area makes up the largest part of the high street (53%) with retailing following behind, occupying 34% of the UK high street.

Greenwich has the largest residential space (75%) on the high street whereas Selby has the biggest retailing space (63%).

The % of space on the high street that is retail:

  • Selby – 63%
  • Knowsley – 59%
  • Shetland islands -
  • Richmondshire – 53%
  • Barrow-in-furness – 53%
  • The % of space on the high street that is residential:
  • Greenwich – 75%
  • Hammersmith & Fulham – 75%
  • Haringey – 75%
  • Portsmouth – 74%
  • Lambeth – 73%

The % of space on the high street that is office space:

  • Merthyr Tydfil – 38%
  • East Ayrshire – 37%
  • Redditch – 36%
  • Newcastle – under – Lyme – 36%
  • Harborough - 34%

Prior to Covid-19, 59% of Brits were shopping in real life at least once a week, with more than a quarter (27%) of people buying items on the high street at least 2-3 times a week.

In the present day, there has been a 16% drop in the number of people shopping on the high street at least once a week, as only 42% of consumers have returned to buying from there weekly. In fact, a quarter of consumers (25%) are spending on the high street less than once a month.

Daily high street shopping has dropped by 3% during COVID-19 from its original 6% prior lockdown - and has only recovered by a little over 1% currently.

Savoo has analysed the data to find the products and services customers would deliberately purchase online instead of buying in person, as well as the global changes in the e-commerce market in the upcoming years.

For both Brits and Germans, purchasing in-store is still their preferred option of shopping, as most respondents claim that they have not fully shifted from offline to online purchases for any products or services (35% and 47% respectively).

Almost three in five Brits believe that the high street is still important

A survey conducted by Savoo reveals that:

  • 20% of the UK uses the high street as their main way of shopping
  • 20% Brits shop evenly (50/50) across the high street and online
  • 38% of the UK recognises the importance of the high street and only occasionally shop online
  • 21% of Brits use online as their only way to shop

As the push for online shopping continues, many UK residents are not ready to let go of high street shopping yet. 59% of UK shoppers say that the high street is still their main way of shopping, compared with only 21% who say the internet is their main way and just a small 4% that admit that all their shopping is done online.

Having said this, interestingly 62% of consumers say they find better deals online. Despite this, 42% also claim that they spend more money when shopping on the internet, which may be because of the extensive time we can spend on sites and the need to buy more options as we cannot experiencing trying anything on in real life.

Savoo found that the most important things consumers want from their shopping experience are:

  • Finding a great deal – 49%
  • Seeing, touching, and trying out an item in person – 36%
  • Speed and convenience – 33%
  • Ease of finding a product – 29%
  • Buying something from the comfort of their own home – 25%

The least important factor listed is financing options available, such as in-store credit card or buy now pay later, only considered by 8%. However, as the likes of Klarna continue to become more popular, this may change in the coming years.

Primark is the nation's favourite high street shopping destination

The high street is home to some of the most quintessential British clothing stores. Giving shoppers not only affordability but also accessibility, shopping on the high street sometimes is really the best choice.

With many stores closing down, there are some that we hold closer to our heart than others and would be heartbroken to see go.

Here are Brits top five favourite stores on the High Street that we’d hate to see closed down:

  1. Primark
  2. Marks and Spencer
  3. Tesco
  4. John Lewis
  5. T.K.Maxx

Now worth £1.1 B, over 20 million customers were purchasing men and women’s clothes from the Primark in 2020 alone.

Marks and Spencer is second as the favourite store, and Tesco rounds off the top three.

As well as our high street favourites, we also have online-only sites that we visit on a regular basis, with many of us having dreamed about visiting the shop in person to partake in its true shopping experience.

The Savoo research also discovered that if the public could visit an online only store in bricks and mortar, their choices would be:

  • Amazon – 47%
  • eBay – 16%
  • ASOS – 7%
  • Shein – 7%
  • Boohoo – 5%

Ed Fleming, Managing Director at Savoo, comments “The high street will never be the same again since the outbreak of COVID-19 as it has accelerated the movement to online shopping that had already started making waves before 2019 and 2020. The future of retail doesn’t solely lie in the hands of consumers - retailers have a huge part to play too in shaping the future of the customer experience.

With online retailers offering next day or even same-day delivery without shoppers having to leave their house, now is the time for the high street to adapt to consumer needs and tap into the key reasons consumers are still going into physical stores.

The pandemic has led to a change in shopping, which is here to stay. Consumers are now looking to support local businesses rather than chain stores and looking to make fewer trips to the high street.

For the high street to survive and stay as a staple in British culture, the shopping experience should remain at the forefront for retailers. Stores should be offering an experience that people can’t get online or on their phones if they want to keep attracting customers.

Although some consumers are reverting to the high street, retailers need to consider that there are factors at play now. As more competitors continue to pop up in online spaces, it should be noted that shoppers value that in-person experience that only the high street can offer."

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For more information, comment and imagery contact:  Emma@tuesdaydigital.co.uk