Consumers ‘eager’ to return to high street

busy high street

New research from News UK reveals that the majority of shoppers still prefer bricks and mortar retail and that weekday shopping is growing.


In positive news for the retail sector, research from News UK has revealed that the majority of UK consumers still prefer to shop in bricks and mortar stores following many months of a major shift to online shopping.

The research highlights that 56% of The Times and The Sunday Times’ readers and 65% of The Sun’s readers want to see products in person before making a purchase.

Changing shopping habits

The pandemic has also changed consumers’ shopping behaviour. Most notably, it has driven a shift in when consumers are shopping throughout the week, with weekend shopping becoming less popular. As working habits have changed and more people are working from home, the percentage of people shopping during the week has risen from 29% pre-pandemic to 41%.

Retail and the community

Interestingly, almost eight in 10 of those surveyed agreed that online shopping is having a negative impact on the high street and local communities. Similarly, 79% agreed that there will always be a role for the in-store experience and that the high street offers a sense of a community.

In further optimistic news for independent retailers, 87% of The Times and The Sunday Times’ readers are interested in seeing more independent shops on the high street whilst 70% of The Sun’s readers are wanting more local markets.

Retail communications

Finally, when asked about what communications they would most like to see from retail brands post-lockdown, nine in 10 readers of The Sun are looking for discounted offers and 86% of The Times and The Sunday Times’ readers want to know what services are available. Meanwhile, 80% of all readers are keen to know what is being done to ensure a Covid-safe shopping environment.

Susie Powell, News UK’s Retail Director of Advertising Sales said: “The research shows our readers’ strong desire to return to shopping in stores and it is striking how many want to see retailers looking to the future with optimism. It is heartening that they believe there will always be a place for an in-store experience, so now is the time to give consumers exactly what they are looking for – an engaging and exciting retail environment.”

News UK Retail Director of Sales Neil Spencer said: “The result of this research is clear: News UK readers value independent retailers. It’s good news that our readers intend to keep driving footfall to independent stores. Newspaper shoppers visit convenience stores more frequently than non-newspaper shoppers and spend more in supermarkets, further driving incremental basket value for all retailers.”