Online Christmas shoppers "killing high street"

First published in News by

CHRISTMAS shoppers in Colchester are among the most likely to buy online - while eight per cent of shops sit empty.

A poll by Royal Mail said Colchestrians were the third likeliest in the UK to get presents from the internet rather than the high street.

Chelmsford topped the survey, which was based on postal delivery stats, followed by Lincoln and Colchester in third place.

The Colchester Retail and Business Association (CORBA) has warned the trend could sound the death knell for the high street.

Community reaction and full list of internet shopping towns in Wednesday's Gazette.

Comments (10)

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3:40pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Say It As It Is OK? says...

On line prices are very competitive and in most cases the High Street can't compete, and that includes the added cost of postage and delivery. An exception is clothing and there are plenty of out of town stores that offer good clothing ranges where I can park for free. Personally I will not pay £4 to £5 to park for a few hours and that is also the case for many others I'm sure.

I went looking to buy a camera and visited a very well known specialist camera and photography store located on Colchester High Street. Their store price was around 20% dearer than their very own on line store price for exactly the same item.

When I asked the manager to explain he said there was nothing he could do! I accepted what he said but this approach does little to promote sales.

Of course the benefits of the High Street, in situations like this, is I was able to see and test the item I wanted to buy before ordering it on line and then after trawling the internet I bought the same item from another on line retailer who was even cheaper! Had the High Street store been competitive, at least with their own on line shop then I would have most probably bought from them in the first place.

Why would anyone pay more for the same item, particularly when its from the same retailer?
On line prices are very competitive and in most cases the High Street can't compete, and that includes the added cost of postage and delivery. An exception is clothing and there are plenty of out of town stores that offer good clothing ranges where I can park for free. Personally I will not pay £4 to £5 to park for a few hours and that is also the case for many others I'm sure. I went looking to buy a camera and visited a very well known specialist camera and photography store located on Colchester High Street. Their store price was around 20% dearer than their very own on line store price for exactly the same item. When I asked the manager to explain he said there was nothing he could do! I accepted what he said but this approach does little to promote sales. Of course the benefits of the High Street, in situations like this, is I was able to see and test the item I wanted to buy before ordering it on line and then after trawling the internet I bought the same item from another on line retailer who was even cheaper! Had the High Street store been competitive, at least with their own on line shop then I would have most probably bought from them in the first place. Why would anyone pay more for the same item, particularly when its from the same retailer? Say It As It Is OK?
  • Score: 0

4:25pm Wed 21 Nov 12

TheCaptain says...

They will be the cause of their downfall like that. I too use the internet most of time because of price.

There is one electrical retailer who also cannot match their on line prices.However you can reserve items and pay and collect at the very store who can't reduce the price. Madness.
They will be the cause of their downfall like that. I too use the internet most of time because of price. There is one electrical retailer who also cannot match their on line prices.However you can reserve items and pay and collect at the very store who can't reduce the price. Madness. TheCaptain
  • Score: 0

4:57pm Wed 21 Nov 12

KA-Wivenhoe says...

I bought ONE present from Colchester last year - a diary from Smiths.

Every other present, (and there were many!), were all bought online.

* I did not have to pay to park
* Fight my way through the traffic
* suffer the crowds
* Suffer the distracting music many stores play
* Spend hours browsing for ideas
* Endure whatever elements the weather threw at me
* Chase around looking for the best prices
* Nor carry it all home

All of which saved me a great deal of time, and money too.

Miserable old Scrooge? No - don't think so.
I bought ONE present from Colchester last year - a diary from Smiths. Every other present, (and there were many!), were all bought online. * I did not have to pay to park * Fight my way through the traffic * suffer the crowds * Suffer the distracting music many stores play * Spend hours browsing for ideas * Endure whatever elements the weather threw at me * Chase around looking for the best prices * Nor carry it all home All of which saved me a great deal of time, and money too. Miserable old Scrooge? No - don't think so. KA-Wivenhoe
  • Score: 0

5:00pm Wed 21 Nov 12

saywhatyousee says...

Price is a major factor but so are the roadworks/parking situations. Using an out of town shopping centre does not help the High streets but is better for your sanity! Even shopping for groceries is easier on line! Simples!
Price is a major factor but so are the roadworks/parking situations. Using an out of town shopping centre does not help the High streets but is better for your sanity! Even shopping for groceries is easier on line! Simples! saywhatyousee
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Gavin2z says...

And it's not just price but they offer a full range of choice. In town they have a much more limited stock and are not bothered if it's not what you want.

The future "High Street" is likely to be a much more limited affair catering only for those items unsuitable for internet buying and for those people who don't wish to use the web.

I can't see the "High Street" ever returning to how it was in the past , and why should it, it's just not needed.
And it's not just price but they offer a full range of choice. In town they have a much more limited stock and are not bothered if it's not what you want. The future "High Street" is likely to be a much more limited affair catering only for those items unsuitable for internet buying and for those people who don't wish to use the web. I can't see the "High Street" ever returning to how it was in the past , and why should it, it's just not needed. Gavin2z
  • Score: 0

5:07pm Wed 21 Nov 12

greenbroker says...

It might be because Colchester has probably got the 3rd worst traffic jams in the country.
It might be because Colchester has probably got the 3rd worst traffic jams in the country. greenbroker
  • Score: 0

5:21pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Douglas Park says...

I'm fortunate to live walking distance from the town centre and make good use of it, but there are many items which I purchase online because it is more convenient. Yes, the high street will need to evolve to meet modern demands, but I still love the buzz you get from going round the shops.
I'm fortunate to live walking distance from the town centre and make good use of it, but there are many items which I purchase online because it is more convenient. Yes, the high street will need to evolve to meet modern demands, but I still love the buzz you get from going round the shops. Douglas Park
  • Score: 0

5:42pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Scoot says...

I went to the new John Lewis in Ipswich last week and you had to queue to get parked. I then went into central Ipswich for a browse around and do some shopping. Colchester stuck two fingers up at John Lewis when they wanted to develop the old Sainsburys site at Tollgate, how the planners must rue that decision....
I went to the new John Lewis in Ipswich last week and you had to queue to get parked. I then went into central Ipswich for a browse around and do some shopping. Colchester stuck two fingers up at John Lewis when they wanted to develop the old Sainsburys site at Tollgate, how the planners must rue that decision.... Scoot
  • Score: 0

10:02am Thu 22 Nov 12

friday_woods says...

Who can blame people shopping online rather than face Colchester town centre? I stopped going into town to shop months ago - the clouds of smoke you have to walk through because of people smoking everywhere, no seating areas for non smokers (again passive smoking), Culver Square being a chav fest, expensive parking, crazy and congested traffic in the high street and pavements covered in litter and cigarette butts. No thanks!!
Who can blame people shopping online rather than face Colchester town centre? I stopped going into town to shop months ago - the clouds of smoke you have to walk through because of people smoking everywhere, no seating areas for non smokers (again passive smoking), Culver Square being a chav fest, expensive parking, crazy and congested traffic in the high street and pavements covered in litter and cigarette butts. No thanks!! friday_woods
  • Score: 0

10:53am Thu 22 Nov 12

Cleggeron says...

Online Christmas shoppers aren't killing the high street - change, driven by technology is. Many shopkeepers seem to think that the world owes them a living because they put stuff in the window and open the doors - it doesn't. Shops were once the only place to buy goods for most of us - now they're not. Like it or not, many won't be here in ten years' time, so we'd better find another use for the high street soon.
Online Christmas shoppers aren't killing the high street - change, driven by technology is. Many shopkeepers seem to think that the world owes them a living because they put stuff in the window and open the doors - it doesn't. Shops were once the only place to buy goods for most of us - now they're not. Like it or not, many won't be here in ten years' time, so we'd better find another use for the high street soon. Cleggeron
  • Score: 0

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