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High street falters as e-commerce booms

15 July 2014 - 10:46 by Graham Miller

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The latest figures from IMRG have revealed that the rise of shopping online is still having a profound effect on high streets up and down the UK, with footfall dropping by over a quarter between 2007 and 2013.

In addition, the report reveals that the only growth generated in the retail market in the past decade, outside of supermarkets, has been as a result of e-commerce sales increases. This means that bricks and mortar outlets have either stagnated or actively declined during this period.

An estimated 25,000 real world stores have closed their doors since the turn of the 21st century, with consumers choosing to embrace online shopping, where prices are usually lower and round the clock retail occurs.

Of course, the market for safe shopping online is also in a state of flux at the moment, with almost a third of all e-commerce sales made using tablet computers during the first three months of 2014. So retailers are not only under pressure to make the leap to a web-focused approach to selling and consumer engagement, but also to embrace the mobile devices that people are now using when they shop.

Report spokesperson, Chris Jones, revealed that it is actually beneficial for retailers to offer both a high street outlet and an e-commerce site for customers to use, since this gives them the best chance of meeting consumer expectations and boosting sales.

However, Jones also pointed out that consumers are actually evolving their shopping habits much quicker than ever before, which means that retailers often need to race to keep up with them, rather than the other way around.

Jones argues that retailers may be better off if they collaborate with one another, rather than compete, enabling them to conquer the high street and the web by working together.