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Online Or On The High Street: What Is The Future?


With many big brand high street stores closing their doors in the past few years, how certain is the future of UK high street businesses?  Although there is a growing shift away from high street retailing moving towards online e-commerce, physical retail is not over yet.

The media has been making a big fuss over the closure of some major players recently.  Big companies like Maplin and Toys R Us closed their doors to the public after a long and drawn-out period of loss.  However, the retail sector remains one of the largest private sectors in the UK, with annual sales totalling £358 billion.  It also one of the biggest employing sectors, providing jobs for 10% of the working population in the country.

The retail sector landscape is championed by the major supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda as well as department stores like John Lewis.  These companies have been around a long time, and recognise the need to have an online share within the marketplace.

However online retail giant Amazon has muscled their way into the top 5 retail players in the UK and now account for 4 in every 100 pounds spent by consumers.  Headlines are constantly telling us about the failing brands that are going into administration and store closures across the country, but it is not as bad as they are making it out to be.

Online sale still only account for 20% of the total retail sales in the UK, according to the national office of statistics.  What is interesting about this figure however is the demographics that make up this number.  It is predominantly millennials that are shopping online and this market share will only increase.  Younger generations want fast access to products and services and online shopping platforms provide this.