Consumers believe more and better shops, better and free parking, and lower business rates can save the high street.
A survey of 300,000 members of the public by retail technology platform Maybe asked why their high street mattered to them. It found that 78% of people worry about their high street, 70% are concerned about shops closing and 38% are worried about the variety of shops.
The survey campaign #WDYT (What do you think?) used a series of Facebook posts and chatbots. The responses were collected under the hashtag #myhighstreetmatters.
The survey was conducted in response to the housing, communities and local government committee’s call for evidence for its 2030 high street inquiry.
It found that members of the public want greater diversity, improved parking, more options for independent shops, more specific high street brands, reduced plastic use, and more community events and activities.
The research showed that 45% of respondents shop on their high street at least once a week, and more than 40% never shop online.
Maybe founder and CEO Polly Barnfield said: “The #WDYT campaign is all about connecting people to their local high streets, so we opened the call for evidence to thousands of people whose voices may have otherwise gone unheard.
“There have been plenty of people giving their individual opinions on high streets but this consultation provides the only well-rounded view of the desired future of our high streets, supported by the opinions of members of the public; the people that actually determine high streets’ success or failure.”
The findings were issued today ahead of the second Grimsey review in the high street, which is due to be published on 4 July. Grimsey’s consultation has been carried out in conjunction with six other experts, including Eva Pascoe, who was the first director for ecommerce at Topshop, and retail property specialist Matthew Hopkinson.