Over the last few years, we’ve had to say goodbye to a number of our favourite high street retailers, and see even more fall into administration. A lot of recent closures could easily be blamed on the virus-that-must-not-be-named, but the truth is that many of these retailers were in trouble beforehand.
And, with the news earlier this year of Topshop moving entirely online after being purchased by ASOS and Boohoo making similar moves with Debenhams, we wonder – is it simply a matter of time before all shopping moves online and the high street as we know it changes forever?
According to our recent LinkedIn poll, a whopping 34% of our followers think that the high street is on its way out. Now we don’t know about you, but we love shopping. There’s just something special about being able to try clothes on in-store or picking a book purely by its cover, strolling down a packed high street and maybe stopping for a coffee or lunch along the way (can you tell we’re getting nostalgic for real life yet? Bring on June 21st!).
But putting our 2019 shopping fantasies on hold for a second, we also can’t deny that we love the ease of online shopping. Need a wok? Amazon. New hairdryer? Amazon. Forgotten World Book Day and the kids need to dress up for a class Zoom? Amazon. And if you’ve got Prime, it’s with you the next day too. It’s practically magic.
Why has the high street lost popularity?
A potential high street death has been on the cards for many years now. Several big names have closed their doors for good over the last decade alone, such as Toys R US and Mothercare, both of which reportedly found it difficult to compete against online brands and competitive pricing.
Then the pandemic hit. There’s no doubt that Coronavirus has shifted us all forward a few years in terms of digitalisation. The majority of businesses now appreciate the importance of a good online presence, even if they didn’t before, and many more have expanded and increased their offerings online after needing to temporarily close their physical stores.
The fact that the vast majority of social media platforms have also increased their offerings in terms of online shopping, to make it as easy as possible for both business and consumer, is an even bigger indication of things to come.
So, is the high street really over for good?
No one can be certain of what will happen over the next few years, or even after restrictions come to an end hopefully later this year. But, if we can be sure of one thing, with the astronomical success of Amazon, ASOS, Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing and countless other online retailers, our appetite for shopping hasn’t gone away, it’s simply adapted, and therefore all businesses must do the same or risk falling by the wayside. After all, it’s tough competition out there!