The demise of the high street has been largely evident from recent events. One of the biggest changes has been due to the rise of the online world of retail, a large part of many people's everyday lives. 

From food shopping to clothes shopping to all-round convenience, this way of shopping was of course accelerated by the pandemic, but has it tainted our future with the high street?

Brick-and-mortar shops allow customers to interact with products directly, as well as sellers who can provide assistance and advice. This helped customers to be able to see products in person, and sometimes try them out before buying.

The increase in technology has meant many stores, particularly smaller businesses, run by locals,  have struggled to compete with these online retailers like Argos and Amazon. As a result, they have been forced to close down, leading to the closing down of shops and the decline of the bustling high streets. 

Online shopping has also eliminated the need for physical travel and potential crowds, making it suitable for those with busy schedules or mobility issues as well as making it convenient to do from our homes.

Through research and interviews, I asked a family friend who works closely with retail businesses about the damage caused to the high street from the online market.

He said: “I’m afraid it’s all a bit depressing as far as ‘bricks’ retail goes. But that doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom.

"It certainly is not helpful that the days of being able to drive in and park a car close by affordably appear to have gone.”

After being asked what could be done to help, he said: “Our local and indeed city councils and those bodies responsible for attracting ‘retailtainment’ to our High Streets and town centres will have to work hard to find new ways of appealing to and attracting a wide cross-section of vibrant and exciting retailers and associated service providers, who in turn will attract visitors and customers back to our High Streets, town and even city centres.” 

Given the shift in buying habits and tastes maybe it's time for an evolution to help sustain our high streets. If we want to keep them we need to act and help so obstacles to trading are removed and support is given.

  • This article was written by Tessa Green, from Peter Symonds College, as part of Newsquest's Young Reporter scheme.