A month after all ‘non-essential’ retailers were forced to close their doors, research conducted by retail analysts, Maybe* Tech suggests that over half of consumers feel that the government is still not doing enough to support high street businesses.
The survey, which had 2,000 respondents and was conducted in late January, also found that 85 per cent of shoppers are concerned that their favourite high street businesses may not survive the latest national lockdown.
When asked whether they felt that the government is doing enough to support the retail and hospitality sector on their high street, 31 per cent of respondents said that the government is ‘not doing enough’, while a further 22 per cent stated that the government is ‘definitely not doing enough’.
A mere 8 per cent of participants felt the government is ‘doing enough’, while 39 per cent believe the government is doing ‘what it can’.
Andrew Goodacre, CEO of bira, the British Independent Retailers Association comments: “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 every chance of recovering and servicing the needs of its communities – it is what the people want.”
Opinion on whether closing the sector is 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% not supporting the step.
Polly Barnfield OBE, Maybe* Tech CEO adds, “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.”
Meanwhile, 85 per cent of consumers are either ‘very concerned’ or ’slightly concerned’ about whether their favourite firms will survive the latest raft of restrictions. 15 per cent are not unconcerned about whether their favourite retailers will make it through the lockdown.
Barnfield continues, “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.”
The Maybe* platform collates the data from 3.4 million businesses from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis and provides engagement, insight and reporting tools that enable clients to increase their sales via social media.
Maybe* is a partner on the UK Governments High Street Task Force which is a 5-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. Local Rewards is a nationwide program that increases local spend by connecting shoppers, local businesses and places via social media, transactions and chat.