More online shoppers

Alert for St James as consumers shun shops

St James Quarter

St James Quarter will open in early 2021

Shoppers are showing an increasing reluctance to return to Britain’s high streets as Covid restrictions drive more consumers online.

A decline in footfall in recent years has been exacerbated by the coronavirus and the latest figures show that is likely to accelerate, just weeks before Britain’s biggest new shopping complex – Edinburgh’s St James Quarter – is due to open.

The number of shoppers who are unlikely to return to their normal frequency of visits to the high street has risen from 25.5% in June to 46.7% this month, according to online booking and customer engagement platform Appointedd.

It conducted the two surveys to track any changes in how the public feel about in-store shopping since living with Covid-19.

The number who planned to shop locally rose from 45.3% in June to 64%, though this may have been influenced by the tightened restrictions on people’s ability to travel from one local authority area to another.

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Appointedd founder and CEO Leah Hutcheon, said: “When we conducted the first survey shoppers and retailers were just getting to grips with social distancing and were introducing new measures to help people shop safely.

“It’s interesting to see just how much consumers have embraced new ways to shop. Our Appointedd virtual and online services are now used by three times as many retailers as at the start of 2020.”

Christmas shopping has been severely impacted by the pandemic with the number of shoppers down by 40% on Christmas Eve.

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