Analysts from springboard suggest that high street sales in Britain will increase by 50% due to the eagerness of consumers to spend in physical places.
Additionally, the “pent up demand” which has been a result of high savings during the pandemic is another factor contributing towards the future increase in sales.
The national lockdown and pandemic have been the main contributors towards the decreased high-street sales, between the first and last weeks of March 2020, high streets saw a decline in footfall of 69% compared to their 2019 levels.
Hence, the analysts believe that the year spent indoors has consumers eager to experience in-person shopping once again, however, the pandemic and lockdown may potentially have permanently changed consumer habits.
Online shopping has become the favoured method of shopping during the pandemic, especially by elderly groups who have greatly benefited from it as older groups are at higher risk because of the virus.
Also, the elderly typically have less stamina due to their deteriorating health and because of this, some may find online shopping more convenient.
But, the elderly favouring online shopping methods does increase the loneliness among their age group, which is already high.
Nevertheless, as a result of the pandemic, consumer habits of certain individuals may have permanently changed leading to a long term reduction in demand for high-street stores.
So, despite the short-term demand boost attributed to pent up consumer savings, high streets may see a demand shortage in the long term.
This decrease is amplified once we take into account the fact that firms such as HSBC and JPMorgan are decreasing their office spaces, a decision that will further reduce demand in high-streets as the industries typically cluster together.
Therefore, the long-term loss in demand due to the combination of these two factors will likely result in structural unemployment, the loss of industry, meaning the individuals working in these sectors will be out of work.
This issue is also significant as the low skill nature of high street jobs means that these workers will find it difficult to work in new sectors of the economy, hence, the nation may see a large increase in long-term unemployment.
This is terrible for the economy as long-term unemployment means resources are wasted, and, the quality of labour is decreasing as workers are not actively upskilling.
And this will place additional strain on government welfare schemes such as Job Seekers Allowance, and, in an attempt to get these workers back to work, the government will be required to implement additional schemes.
One of these schemes may include making it easier for the adult population to go back and participate in higher education or to finish A-Level qualifications.
A lot of this is speculation however, we can be somewhat certain that this surge in high-street sales will be short-lived and after it, we may potentially see a very desolate high street.
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