Online retailers still preferred over High St- but could the cost of online shopping be about to rise?

June 18th, 2013 8 Comments By Thewlis

online shopping Online retailers still preferred over High St  but could the cost of online shopping be about to rise?Despite reports claiming that 42% may be moved to boycott certain shops, a new survey claims that the retailer most of us would like to see on the high street is Amazon. A new survey on the demise of the high street showed almost a third of those polled would like to drop in to their local Amazon, more than any other brand. The survey also reveals that 73% of us “care” the high street is in decline, but half of us are reluctant to spend in independent shops as they are more expensive than big chains who are normally blamed for the demise of the town centre.

Nick Gray, managing director of Live & Breathe who conducted the survey, said: “Shoppers face a tough decision – they want to support their high street but they also seem to believe it’s more expensive and provides less choice.

“Shoppers have romantic memories of high street shopping but they’re still buying online. There’s a massive disconnect between what the shoppers say they want and what they’re doing.”

But the cost differential between online and offline shopping could also narrow if some lobbyists get their way. On the back of the new US Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which will allow states to force online retailers to charge a kind of sales tax, some UK retailers are campaigning for a similar charge here. In particular, Sainsbury’s boss Justin King cites the crippling nature of business rates for offline retailers and seeks a “rebalance” of tax between online and offline retailers.

But online retailers are unsurprisingly not so keen on the proposal. The founders of have written an open letter to Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury claiming any such levy would “most likely lead to a reduced consumer choice online” adding that:

“Online businesses often fail. Online isn’t some magical way of beating the high street, only the best businesses survive and as such, it’s absurd to imply that online retail has an ‘inherent advantage’ over traditional shops.”

While an online levy is not yet on the cards for UK retailers, with the G8 currently in session, tasked with tackling tax avoidance, more expensive online purchases could be a sledgehammer to crack the nut of the multinational online giants.

Comments (8) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by stiffemeister June 18, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    a tax for online shopping ridiculous, the high street retailers simply need to learn to compete where they can with better customer service and a more personal service, and not just have there current shitty service and shitty prices.

  2. Posted by Justin Manchester AfterDark June 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    So the basic principle is to tax the web stores so that we swerve them and buy on the high street instead. And Sainsburys, who themselves have an online shop, are in favour of this? How short sighted.

    That won’t ‘save the high street’, it’ll just give the government more tax revenue and make the public more skint/less likely to buy at all. Besides, if buying online costs me more, that’s less I have to spend in Sainsburys, so I then switch to a cheaper supermarket. King needs to try looking further than the end of his nose with that proposal.

    The abolition of business rates would be a more sane move.

  3. Posted by Big Mozzer June 18, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    ‘There’s a massive disconnect between what the shoppers say they want and what they’re doing.’

    It’s called lying.

  4. Posted by Cheesey June 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    It’s a question of service and rights:

    A) Shop online and pay a lower price but safe in the knowledge that your credit/debit card has chargeback and most good stores such as Amazon will accept no quibble returns.

    B) Shop in-store supporting an independent shopkeeper or a giant like PC World and when things go wrong the shops will do all they can to minimise returns and refunds. They will often refuse to exchange or refund claiming the item has to be sent off for inspection and repair and at a cost to you if no fault is found.

    So do you deal with A knowing that they will exchange in a few days or deal with B knowing that you might get the item back repaired in 28days? Fuck B.

  5. Posted by Big Mozzer June 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I’ll do anything I can to support the high street.

    Except shop there.

  6. Posted by Sicknote June 18, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I support my local high street every Friday & Saturday night – only last week I pissed all over the door of boots the chemist and my mate Roger took a shit in the doorway of clarks the shoe shop.

    Support your local high street.

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  8. Posted by Her name was Lola June 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Shop online at Amazon where you can get virtually everything delivered for free or if you subscribe to Amazon Prime, next day for free. Compare that to the High St where you have to pay to park and make do with a small range of products.

    When the High St can compete with shopping for pants in just your pants then maybe I will return. But until then, Amazon any day.

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