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High street remains relevant despite e-commerce expansion

29 February 2012 - 12:56 by Mike Price

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There are many observers bemoaning the death of high street shopping due to significant store closures and dwindling sales, but it seems like the growing popularity of safe shopping online will not completely wipe out real world retailers, according to a study published by Shoppercentric.

A thousand consumers were asked about their habits and it was discovered that 87 per cent of those questioned had spent money on the high street within the past 30 days. Meanwhile 45 per cent of respondents asserted their allegiance to the real world outlets, arguing that they actively enjoy the experience of browsing shops and making instantaneous purchases.

What is significant is that the study found an increasing move towards a multichannel approach to retail by consumers. Fifty-five per cent of people said that they had used a laptop to check items and prices online before buying them in store.

The rise of smartphones has also had an impact on consumer habits, with 13 per cent of respondents conducting research from their portable handset, before committing to a sale on the high street.

Tablets are still lagging behind at seven per cent, but the increasing number of retailers using in-store touchscreens to give users similar abilities has clearly had an impact, as eight per cent of those questioned said that they had used this method.

The high street is not completely in the clear, because amongst younger people the preference for using newer technology as opposed to traditional bricks and mortar stores is higher. Interestingly, the 35-44 year olds are actually most enamoured with e-commerce, while 49 per cent of people of a pensionable age believe that the high street shopping experience is something of a hassle rather than an activity out of which some enjoyment is gleaned.