Small Business Saturday 2014: High street stores are not keeping up with the online era, research claims

Guy Bentley
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Are high street stores adapting to online? (Source: Getty)

As Brits are being urged to get out onto the high street to mark Small Business Saturday new research shows consumers aren't too impressed with the pace of change in the country's small shops.

Only six per cent of the public think local shops are sufficiently equipped for an era of online retail and more than a third expect shops to have some kind of web presence.

Worryingly for Britain's more traditional stores, 17 per cent said they would consider visiting a rival shop if they couldn't find a local store online.

The survey commissioned by Nominet, the .uk domain name registry included 15 major UK cities showed that more than a fifth of consumers expect to be able to email a high street business and a quarter believe that a local high street store’s website says a lot about the company.

Eleanor Bradley, chief operating officer at Nominet, commented:

In Britain we’re a tech-savvy lot and it’s clear that local high street stores need to keep up with their customers’ expectations. It’s never been easier to get online – Nominet’s registry data shows that 150,000 .UK web domains are registered every month – and this research shows that local businesses can use the web not only to engage with customers online, but also drive people into stores.

The picture is particularly gloomy for high street stores among Britain's young people, with 38 per cent of 18-24 year olds saying these type of businesses were outdated and can't keep up with the times if they don't have a decent web presence.

Small Business Saturday is in its second year and has the backing of more than 60 councils and a host of trade organisations.

Business and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said today:

There's never been a better time to start a business and I am proud that the Government has thrown its weight behind small business.

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