Research reveals why shoppers are staying off the high street

More than half of UK consumers (53%) choose to avoid visiting brick and mortar stores due to inconvenient opening times, a new survey commissioned by enterprise solutions specialist HSO has revealed.

41% of respondents polled also expressed dissatisfaction at the need to travel long distances and a lack of stock, with an overwhelming 61% of older people (45+) deterred from visiting a store due to the lack of parking.

The study also explored the role of the physical store when it came to aiding the buying decisions of the consumer. Fewer than one in five (18%) shoppers said that they used the retailer’s physical store to make any of their last five purchases. Meanwhile, just 10% said that they had been to a store at any point during three out of five of their last purchases. These figures highlight the lessening influence that a physical store is having on consumers today.

However, it was interesting to note that among those 34 years of age and under, the percentage rose to 27% of people that had been influenced by an in-store experience, indicating a stores importance to the younger generation.

HSO sales director Hector Hickmott commented: “This research provides retailers with a good insight into the current trends of consumer habits when it comes to the high street vs online debate. Retailers must understand that customers are striving for more convenience to fit in with their busy schedules, so when visiting a store expect stock to be available. This also applies to online shopping, customers demand a flawless time saving experience when they are shopping online via their mobile from the store, by laptop or tablet.”

Despite the growing trend to shop online, the survey did reveal that if the logistical barriers were removed then the in-store experience is still the preferred way to shop. Over half (53%) of the total sample stated that shopping in-store was a preference, while those aged 35 and older the results were split 50-50. The ability to touch and feel the product remains imperative for many, which was referenced by 71% of respondents, while the chance to ask questions about the products was also key, receiving 28% of the votes.

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