Shoppers fear high streets won’t survive Lockdown

A month after all ‘non-essential’ retailers were forced to close their doors, researchers found that shoppers were unhappy with the support the government was giving businesses.

And 85 per cent of the 2,000 interviewed expressed concern that their favourite high street businesses may not survive the latest Lockdown.

A mere 8 per cent felt the government was “doing enough”, while 39 per cent believe the government was doing “what it can”, according to analysts, Maybe* Tech.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of bira, the British Independent Retailers Association said: “This important research shows how much people care about their high street. Independent retailers have never been more vulnerable and now is not the time to remove the support that was made available last March.

“We must see the extension of the rates holiday for the whole 2021/22 and an extension of the rent moratorium. By doing this, the high street will have every chance of recovering and servicing the needs of its communities – it is what the people want.”

Opinion on whether closing the sector was the right thing to do however, is more split, with 56 per cent of those surveyed supporting the decision to close non-essential retail across the UK – with the remaining 44 per cent against.

Polly Barnfield Maybe* Tech CEO said: “While over half of consumers may feel that closing elements of the retail sector is required right now, there is a genuine concern among the public that our high street businesses aren’t receiving the level of support that they need in these circumstances. The government needs to address this situation by either offering more support to struggling businesses or urgently improve its messaging to highlight how it is helping the high street.

“A large amount of consumers fear for the futures of their favourite retailers which is testament to the value that we place on our high streets. Our bricks and mortar businesses mean so much to our local economies and communities, and when they re-open, we have to go and support them.”

Maybe* is a partner on the UK Governments High Street Task Force which is a five-year project that supports High Street regeneration. Maybe* supplies the social media data for all UK Local Authority dashboards.

To help High Streets recover from COVID, the Maybe* team has created Local Rewards, a nationwide program that increases local spend by connecting shoppers, local businesses and places via social media, transactions and chat.