Online to eliminate half of the high street by 2030 – report

Online shopping is on the up and is set to wipe out 50 per cent of town centre stores by 2030 according to a new report from e-commerce specialist ParcelHero.

UK shoppers are spending £1 Billion a week online, an increase of 26.8 per cent on 2015. The report – 2030: The Death of the High Street – says that by 2030, the impact of online shopping will mean that over half of today’s town centre stores will no longer exist.

ParcelHero’s head of consumer research, David Jinks said: ‘The number of familiar High Street names being drowned by the growth of the internet shows no signs of abating as Staples and American Apparel join the ranks of the fallen, and and M&S prepares to close 53 stores.’

At the last point of survey in 2012, it was found that there 290,000 brick and mortar stores in the UK (it wouldn’t be surprising to find out that figure is even smaller in 2017). This is a far cry from the heyday of British retaill in 1950 where there were 600,000 stores in the country. It is predicted that only 220,000 will be left standing in 2020 according to The Centre for Retail Research. 2030 will see only 120,000 shops across the entirety of the UK. Going by a 2014 estimation of the UK population’s size, 2020 will see one physical shop for every 595 people in the country.

The report doesn’t make a whole lot of pretty reading for established retailers, particularly supermarkets which will see physical store sales slump from 42 per cent to 24 per cent by 2030. It also makes the assertion that retailers that have successfully transitioned to online are cannibalising their own business. John Lewis, for example, is seeing 25 per cent of its sales going through the intenet and Tesco’s £2.9 billion online revenue is second only to Amazon. The report says that while retailers might be "congratulating themselves on better than expected sales" over the festive period, the 19 per cent increase in online sales presents a negative trend for their retail business.

It’s not all doom and gloom however. The report says that one way that physical retail can be saved is by returning the high street to a "Victorian model". This doesn’t mean getting all dressed in a suit to do your weekly shop, but rather making shopping more of a social experience. It also suggests that homes must return to UK High Streets in order to stop them from becoming no-go areas after 6pm when stores shut.

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