A new survey on the shopping habits of residents in Birmingham, Derby, Leicester, Lincoln and Nottingham has revealed that 63% of all respondents consider it “highly important to support local businesses and independent retailers”.
Retail PR group Cartwright Communications, which conducted the survey, said that at a time when “empty shop fronts are on the rise” and online retailers continue to grow, it is often reported that city centres are “struggling to attract the footfall needed to remain profitable in the current climate”.
However, the new data suggests that the desire to support independent retailers and small businesses is “driving footfall” to the high street and encouraging residents to shop in store, buy locally and receive customer service in person.
Nelson Blackley, retail research associate at Nottingham Trent University, said: “The survey confirms that over 70% of respondents visit their local high street, which is good news for their continued survival and suggests that physical stores and the high street still serve a purpose.
“The responses also show that most consumers are keen to support local businesses, which is great for local independent retailers trading on our high streets and in our town centres. There is real demand for those products, services and experiences that consumers just can’t get online.”
The results also show that, despite the support for independent retailers, there is a “greater demand” for leisure facilities on the high street that precedes retail units.
Bars and restaurants, coffee shops and cafes, hairdressers and beauty salons all ranked above retailers as the reason people visit their local high street, suggesting that services and experiences are “starting to overtake the traditional retail focus of city centres”.
Liz Cartwright, managing director at Cartwright Communications, added: “We’ve gained some truly fascinating insight from the survey.
“It’s interesting to see that fashion retailers are on the decline in terms of attracting people to local high streets and that the needs of shoppers are shifting. No longer are people visiting city centres to purchase products, but rather as a social pastime.”