Shoppers To Return To High Street, ‘But It Will Be A Different Place’

The vice president of Samsung for the UK and Ireland has said that shoppers will return to the high street, and it will remain an important outlet for businesses post-pandemic, but it will be a ‘different place’.

Retail Gazette reports that Samsung’s Conor Pierce says that the South Korean headquartered technology firm is already seeing people return to its physical stores as the restrictions are gradually eased and shops reopen.

He explained that the company’s research had revealed that many consumers intend to return to the high streets after the pandemic, but the rise of online shopping from the lockdown would also drastically change how people shopped.

He said that the lockdown restrictions had ‘fast-tracked’ how Samsung would be ‘engaging with the market’ going forward.

“I think it [the high street] is definitely going to be a different place. I think it’s just a natural evolution and new chapter in retail – obviously forced by the pandemic,” Pierce said.

“Before the pandemic, retail accounted for around 50 per cent of smartphone sales in the UK – and that’s not just specific to Samsung, but during the pandemic that dropped down to 21 per cent – there were some stores still open for click and collect.

He added that figure is now 37 per cent, and while quite a significant drop, it’s not as dramatic as expected.

“What is interesting though is that recent research shows that 20 per cent of UK consumers intend to return to retail to browse and shop. So I think they still recognise that need for retail.”

Like many of the major technology brands, Samsung moved its product announcements and retail experiences online during the pandemic, to create virtual hands-on spaces for consumers and the media to preview new products and devices, and many firms are continuing to run online events and offer new ways to shop online.

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