Growth in online shopping signals bleak future for traditional high street stores


While trading conditions for retailers are certainly tough amidst the backdrop of an ailing economy, despite February’s increase in footfall on the high street, it seems that online retailers have continued to thrive.

According to IMRG, the UK's industry association for online retail, several key factors are set to see online retailers continue their hold over consumer spending.

Online expenditure is set to rise by a figure of 12% in 2013, taking the total spent on purchases over the internet from a figure of £78bn in 2012, to £87 billion in 2013.

With leading high street retailers including HMV, Blockbuster, Comet and Clinton Cards going into administration in recent months, the wide availability of broadband as well as the increasing use of mobile devices such as smartphones means that the virtual high street has continued to win the battle for the British consumer’s pound.

The increasing prevalence of online shopping has led to this being dubbed the‘i-street’ as the convenience and 24-hour accessibility offered by online shopping continues to lure consumers.

Consumers are also increasingly purchasing items using social media sites such as Facebook, which has a click through and buy feature.

Time is of the essence

With many consumers pressed for time, more and more are choosing to conserve their leisure time for the things they actually want to do. They are able to complete tasks on their ‘to-do’ list, such as booking train tickets or carrying out their weekly shop, on their lunch break or on their daily commute using a plethora of mobile devices.

The fact that HMV’s demise was partly attributed to its failure to invest in ‘online technologies’ in the early 1990s could mean that the death of the traditional high street is not far away, and those retailers looking to survive in a competitive marketplace will need to diversify.

If your business is struggling in the current market, you may want to discuss your options with a specialist financial restructuring team.


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