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Retailers risk losing millions

High streets ‘must welcome older shoppers’

Princes St shopping

Older shoppers find the high street unwelcoming

High street retailers could risk of losing billions if they do not care for the needs of older shoppers, says a new report.

In the UK, there are many older people finding high street shops unwelcoming, with confusing automated checkout machines and nowhere to sit down for a rest.

Anchor, an older people’s charity had commissioned a report that highlighted older people having difficulties with being catered for in high street shops and warns if things don’t improve, then retailers are at risk of losing out on up to £4.5 billion in trade each year by 2030.

The report, Older generations to rescue the high street, shows that:

  • 23% of older people aged 70+ are feeling ‘shut out’ from the high-street shops.
  • 60% of older people are worried about the lack of seating that is provided in shopping areas for them to rest, including inside shops.
  • 33% of older people would feel embarrassed to request a seat in a public place.
  • 24% of older people don’t feel comfortable with self-checkout machines.

Anchor’s chief executive, Jane Ashcroft said: “Going shopping is something most of us take for granted and yet many thousands of older people feel excluded from our high streets.

“This is an issue not to be overlooked, as it increases older people’s isolation and loneliness, in turn affecting health and wellbeing. It’s also important for retailers who are missing out on huge amounts of revenue. We must value older people – everyone should have the chance to live life to the fullest, regardless of age.”

To help reduce people’s loneliness, Anchor is asking for more to be done to tackle unwelcoming high streets.

This will help improve health and wellbeing for older people. Anchor in particularly, is calling on more retailers to get behind its Standing Up 4 Sitting Down campaign – a national initiative encouraging retails to provide seating for its older customers in shops.

Now, there are more than 1,500 retailers across the UK that have signed up to the scheme, including Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, but more are needed.

The new report shows as baby boomers reach an older age, they represent a significant part of retailers’ target audience, and the one they dangerously ignore. It says that unless high streets reinvent themselves as an age-friendly environment, they are at risk of losing billions of pounds of revenue each year and could seal their own demise.

As a great number of young people turn to shopping online, high street retailers will increasingly rely on in-store trade from older people who are likely to go out shopping.

The Foresight Director, Dr Frank at the centre of Future Studies, put together the report on behalf of Anchor. He said: “Baby boomers are an economic force to be reckoned with. As they enter older age, their refusal to retire quietly is an opportunity to reinvigorate the high street, transforming it into a diverse, prosperous, and age-friendly environment.

“The alternative, £4.5bn annual losses and the death of the high street, will be devastating not just for older people but for everyone.”

Simple measures he recommends include making shops more comfortable and enjoyable for older people, giving a competitive edge to those retailers which provide them.

This includes placing in-store seating areas where people can rest if they need to, and a return to good old-fashioned real human service, rather than impersonal and sometimes confusing self-checkouts. For some people, especially those who live alone, the social interaction they get while out shopping is very important.

Retailers need to consider these factors before rushing blindfully to new technologies because investing in new technology can have a negative impact on their older shoppers. Providing a mix of checkout options to suit the different needs for shoppers is the more sensible route.

If you would like to download the new report, Older generations to rescue the high street, then click here. You can also find more about Anchor’s Stand Up 4 Sitting Down campaign which includes how retailers can join it by clicking here.

Source: Acorn Stairlift

This article is published under the terms of the DB Direct Service

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