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 sofa.com 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.