Shoppers Move Away From Traditional High Street to Local, Trendier Alternatives

LONDON, 28 November 2019 – New data from Yext, the Search Experience Cloud company, shows consumers are swapping traditional main shopping areas for local retailers and leisure outlets. 

The data – which looked at 11 major high streets across four of the UK’s busiest cities: London, Birmingham, Leeds and Bristol using Yext’s proprietary data between January 2017 and July 2019 – showed impressive reading for more ‘bouji’ high streets including Kings Road, London. The Chelsea location showed a huge 137% increase in ‘customer actions’ between 2017 and 2018. 

However, the ‘customer actions’ – phone call clicks, website clicks and direction clicks on search platforms – only increased year-on-year for Oxford Street by 20% comparatively. 

Similarly, up and coming Kings Heath in Birmingham is experiencing a boost in customer intent as customer actions grew by 20% from 2017 to 2018, and has already seen an average of 8% increase in 2019 up to July compared to 2018.

Boasting a thriving high street, and a host of pubs, restaurants and cafes, it has overtaken its city centre counterpart as the favourite destination for retail and leisure activity; Birmingham City Centre (New Street, High Street and Corporation Street) only grew in customer actions by 7% year-on-year in comparison. 

What’s more, data showed an overall increase of 19% in customer actions last year compared to 2017, as consumers are increasingly looking for directions online before deciding where to shop.

Jon Buss, Managing Director at Yext, commented, “This data is really an eye-opener for physical brands and retailers, not least because consumers are becoming more open to trying new experiences outside of the traditional high street. Yet the journey of physical retail is one that often starts online; increasingly, consumers are asking questions about the best places to shop in and visit, and this can have a direct impact on footfall in high streets. This is why retailers and brands need to ensure they are answers-ready when consumers are searching online for information and meet customers at that moment of purchase intent.”

The data was compiled from 217 million Google Search Views taking in locations on the high streets relating to retail, food and hospitality (i.e. restaurants, hotels, bars, pubs).

 

Methodology

Yext proprietary data includes Google Search Views. For all locations in 2017 was 59.3 million followed by 96.7 million in 2018 and lastly 61 million for the first 7 months of 2019 (until the end of July)

Total of 11 high streets/areas were analysed by Yext across London, Birmingham, Leeds and Bristol.

  • London: Oxford Street, Kensington High Street, King’s Road, and Camden High Street
  • Birmingham: High Street, New Street, Corporation Street, and Kings Heath Street
  • Leeds: Briggate Street, and Trinity Shopping Centre
  • Bristol: Broadmead Street

Definitions

  • Customer Actions: Actions on Google where consumers click whether for a phone call, website link or directions 
  • Search views: The average number of search views a location on the high street received in a given year (i.e. the number of times they appeared in a consumer search). I.e. Comparing the average location search views for Kensington High Street for 2018 to 2017, that number has grown by 9%. 

 

About Yext

The customer journey starts with a question. And consumers expect answers. Yext puts businesses in control of their facts online with brand-verified answers in search. By serving accurate, consistent, brand-verified answers to consumer questions, Yext delivers authoritative information straight from the source – the business itself – no matter where or how customers are searching. Taco Bell, Marriott, Jaguar Land Rover, and businesses around the globe use Yext to capture consumer intent and drive digital discovery, engagement, and revenue – all from a single source of truth. Yext’s mission is to provide perfect answers everywhere.

Yext has been named a Best Place to Work by Fortune and Great Place to Work®, as well as a Best Workplace for Women. Yext is headquartered in New York City with offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, Chicago, Dallas, Geneva, London, Miami, Milan, Paris, San Francisco, Shanghai, Tokyo and the Washington, D.C. area.

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