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Online shopping hits high street stores

Over the weekend the number of deals on eBay hit record highs and this was followed by news that online spending has increased by 77% on previous records. All this is furthering the view that High Street stores may be becoming a thing of the past.

The economic downturn has already been driving nails in the coffin of many stores and as the buying public is becoming more familiar and comfortable with online purchasing its difficult to see how the trend will reverse?

According to figures the most popular online purchases are books, dvds, electrical goods, travel, entertainment and some food. This is a bleak outlook for all high street stores stocking these goods as they cannot compete on prices. The current deflationary period leading up to Christmas is hurting the high street stores badly but the trend of buying online might lose them their customers for good.

Let's imagine that in the future the majority of sales are online with just a few high street stores still going to enable the ‘try before you buy' type goods; clothes for example. Will we see all existing supermarkets move mainly into online sales operating from their distribution centres and will the existing delivery firms gain on the back of this.

What is clear is that the use of online shopping is now taking over from the high street. Technology has turned the public into canny traders, as they are now able to search the web for the best price and even renegotiate in their favour. When the government analyses the economic cycle, it must include online sales and sites such as eBay, as these are now becoming greater than those stores currently supplying the analytical data. The economic downturn may have accelerated the growth of online buying beyond the point where the trend will ever be reversed. Goodbye stores it was nice knowing you! 

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Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 08 December, 2008, 17:05Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

One thing on the high street that may yet make a comeback is the traditional food market. I used to live in Walthamstow and that seemed pretty thriving - or Borough Market is doing pretty well too if a little more upmarket. Meanwhile Bury market in the North West has won a Radio 4 award for best market in the country - just shows what can happen if you get a local council behind you with a bit of common sense and flair. I bet none of these stalls take any sort of trendy contactless payment tho' - nor I suspect could they ever afford to. Cash will always be king here. Surely?

Gary Wright

Gary Wright

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BISS Research

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EBAday is the annual event for European payments professionals organised by Finextra and the Euro Banking Association. This community has been created to deliver a forum for EBA delegates to exchange views on instant payments, open banking and new developments in payments processing and technology.


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