Hope for High Street: Independent retail is growing

Deloitte reported that behind the grim headline of stores closures, they were actually finding an increase in independent retail.  In fact in this report, Deloitte find there are more independent retailers today than there were in 2017, with a 1.3% growth, and this trend is accelerating.

Why could that be?  They state a number of possible reasons.  From our numerous discussions with independent retailers, we see 3 trends that could back this, and suggest there is much more growth to come.

3 drivers behind the growth of independent retailers

  • Consumer preference for sustainable-diversity – Shoppers are looking for authentic experiences, and welcome diversity, and they find this much more in independent retail and online with ETSY than they do with big retail brands or Amazon.  Deloitte report that 57% of their sample said they would shop more locally to buy locally produced products 
  • Work place (often) at home: Hyper-local – we used to shop in city centres, transit areas and big out of town shopping centres.  But now in our world of hybrid working, as so many of us work at least part if the time near where we live, there are many more hyper-local shopping places.  And many more places, means smaller shops, a trend that doubly benefits local independents. 
  • Shared eCommerce platforms: Shopify and other have thrown many independent retailers a lifeline during the lockdowns.  And through using them, retailers have upped their digital skills, making them better able to market to their prospective customers post lockdown.


(It is retailers’ massive adoption of platforms such as Shopify that created the opportunity for Cloudshelf).

A possible future of bustling high streets

Bustling local high streets, with small retailers housing digital pop-ups for other brands.  The owner of a local crafts store for instance, may use their knowledge and expertise to curate a digital range of jewellery products.

Local convenience stores will become the hub for last minute shopping with increased margin made on a wide range of premium products available to order through in-store digital interfaces.


Combining the power of digital with joy of shopping locally

Store owners becoming curators, not just of the products that they have in-store, but also of those that they offer through their website and via their in-store eCommerce solution.

Large / functional shopping moving behind the scenes and increasingly online only.

This outcome would provide for local communities, allow high streets to cultivate their specificities, and yet ensure convenience and choice are always available.  It would come about though the integration of digital into the brick-and-mortar experience.  Up to companies like Cloudshelf to find easy, pragmatic ways of helping this happen.

If you would like to share thoughts on how this future could take shape, or find out more about how Cloudshelf can support diversity in local high streets, please do get in touch with us.



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