Data released this month shows that UK shoppers spent some £133 billion online in 2016, up 15.9% from the £114.75 billion spent online the previous year*.

Figures that further highlight that the mass migration of consumers to digital is continuing at a significant rate, with the increased use of mobile phones adding to the acceleration of this shopping behaviour.

However, retail data company Springboard reported “a modest bounce back of the high street alongside a slowing of growth for out of town and a downward slide in shopping centre activity” when examining Christmas footfall.

This is of course encouraging news for town centres who seek to attract consumers, not just shoppers, into the High Street with a mix of restaurants and leisure activities alongside shops.

This digital migration will undoubtedly continue to impact what we might find in a town centre of the future.

Figures from The Centre for Retail Research state that the number of shop premises declined from 600,000 in 1950 to 290,000 in 2012 and is predicting that this will fall to 220,000 by 2020, with a further decline of 100,000 by 2030.

And a report from e-commerce fulfilment specialist ParcelHero predicts that the online fashion retail industry could reach £36.2 billion by 2030, representing 63% of the market compared to today’s 21%.

Clearly the way we shop is changing dramatically, but some elements remain the same, just different.

Going back a decade or two, I spent the majority of my Saturdays ‘in-town’, visiting shop after shop for fashion retail purchases, always accompanied by a group of friends, and purchases made only after much debate and plenty of coffee.

It was without a doubt, not only the main shopping day but also the social highlight of the week.

Research that we have just carried out looking at persuasive content and other buying trends, reveals that Saturday remains the main online shopping day, with purchases more likely to be made on a Saturday afternoon or evening.

And, this key shopping period has extended to some degree into Thursday and Friday evenings, and Sunday afternoons.

I suspect that this reflects a mix of items required for the weekend and the ‘free-time’ that weekends provide to browse.

Most of my own shopping is now done online, and with retailers making it so easy to return items ordered on line, I am perhaps not so considered as I used to be with my selection.

But I do miss those fun-filled day long purchase debates with friends, coming home exhausted but thoroughly happy with what I had bought that day.

Lynne Goddard

Our consumer lifestyle digital PR team specialise in connecting everyday brands with everyday people across four core sectors; Consumer Lifestyle PR, Food & Drink PR, Consumer Technology PR and Sport, Health & Wellbeing PR. More information on these areas of knowledge can be found at www.escapadepr.com/about-us.

* U.K. e-retail association Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) and consulting firm Capgemini