Consumers want a better high street with more small, independent businesses

The majority of shoppers think that improvements should be made to their local high street, research finds.

Some 87 per cent say regeneration is necessary, with 40 per cent believing ‘a lot needs to be improved’, according to a study by Groupon.

Older generations are more critical with 51 per cent of those over 55 years old recognising the need for change, compared to a quarter of 18-24 year olds saying the same.

Almost half (48 per cent) of the 1,000 respondents say improvements could be achieved with a better range of independent businesses and retailers to choose from, whilst 40 per cent want to see regeneration of the whole area.

A third of Britons hit their local high street once a week (28 per cent), with 40 per cent using it a few times a month.

Shoppers also say they want to see high street businesses offering more discounts and loyalty schemes (79 per cent), more efficient (79 per cent) and personalised (61 per cent) customer service, and to be able to order in specific items that might not immediately be in stock (68 per cent).

More than half (58 per cent) admit that longer opening hours on weekdays would also be more likely to tempt them in.

Women are 10 per cent more interested in a good deal than men, whilst men are more enthusiastic about meeting the owner of a shop, restaurant or business, with a quarter saying it would encourage them to be more loyal.

When it comes to what consumers are using independent shops and businesses for, more than half say they prefer to use them for their grocery shopping (57 per cent), a quick bite to eat (56 per cent), as well as hair and beauty treatments (52 per cent).

Half of people surveyed say they’re only aware of new shops, restaurants or deals if they spot them as they walk around their local area, suggesting better marketing is in order for many.

Roy Blanga, managing director of Groupon UK says, ‘It’s heartening to know that British shoppers still have a connection with their local high street and use independent shops and businesses for their everyday needs.

‘However, to keep them coming back, continued investment is needed to modernise these areas and ensure they’re appealing to shoppers At the same time, business owners should also be thinking about how to make their offer stand out both on and offline to deliver better value and customer service. This two-pronged approach is vital if our high streets are to flourish.’

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.