British consumers still value the bricks-and-mortar shopping experience but would like to see more technology in high street stores, new research has shown.
Winchester high street
Almost two-thirds (63%) of British shoppers like to go into high street stores and see products before buying them, Barclays’ New Retail Reality report found.
But shoppers are eager for new technologies and experiences: 57% would be more likely to visit stores kitted out with smart fitting rooms or virtual reality and 65% want to see more touchscreen technology on the high street.
Women are more likely than men to say that a smart fitting room would make them want to visit a store (66% of women compared to 52% of men).
The research also found that shoppers are now five times more likely to use Twitter to complain about purchases than three years ago, and one in three (38%) expect responses within an hour.
Two-thirds (65%) of people want the government to protect British retailers in the Brexit negotiations.
Ian Gilmartin, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, said: “The British high street is part of what has made the UK great. Being a ‘nation of shopkeepers’ is ingrained in our cultural identity and consumer pride in the sector endures. Our research reveals that the public still see the high street as an essential part of the shopping experience and as a national treasure they want to see protected.
“Consumer confidence in the retail sector is continuing despite uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, and there are opportunities ahead for retailers if they can maximise the opportunity of ‘Brand Britain’, both at home and abroad.”
Barclays surveyed 2,000 consumers in August.