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What drives the UK’s high street mad?

A survey has revealed what British shoppers hate most about the high street experience.

10,000 people in the UK were asked what really gets their goat about high street shopping – with queues, misleading deals and cramped stores taking the top spots.

42% of participants disproved a Great British stereotype, citing queues as their ultimate annoyance when it came to high street shopping – while deceptive offers came in second at 37%.

Cramped shops scooped a substantial 36% of the vote, with almost half of 18-24 year-olds claiming they were a nuisance.

While one resounding outcome of the survey by Sinso Retail Support saw Brits lay blame on their fellow shoppers, with 34% of participants citing other customers as their biggest gripe.

Retail sins

Misleading offers (37%) and poor access (20%) also come under fire, with the former proving especially unpopular with 35-44 year-olds.

38% of over-65s revealed that poor access annoyed them most about the high-street shopping experience, with some retailers failing to accommodate the needs of older customers.

Across the counter, team training showed plenty of room for improvement – with aggressive salespeople (35%) and poorly informed staff (25%) scoring highly in the study.

Earlier this month, the BBC reported a government defeat, as an overhaul on Sunday trading laws was rejected by MPs.

Despite that, 17% of participants said limited opening hours were among their biggest high street headaches.

No refunds

When it comes to products, Brits aren’t willing to settle – citing low stock levels (25%), poor product quality (18%) and mislabelled products (16%) as a few of their high street deal-breakers.

A fifth of men surveyed said poor quality products drove them mad, while women considered a poor product selection one of the cardinal retail sins.

Ugly product displays scooped 11% of the overall vote, with a sizeable 17% of British men expressing their disdain for shoddy displays.

A number of respondents shed light on the disadvantages of high street shopping when compared with the online experience – highlighting the extra time and expense, and limited product choice as a few of the comparative shortcomings.

0.4% of voters declared “high-street chuggers” as the worst part of the shopping experience.

After The Guardian reported that UK high streets are losing customers to purpose-built retail parks, this latest retail study has revealed some potential catalysts for the high street’s demise – and a number of opportunities for retailers to take a step in the right direction.

Lee Singers, of Sinso Retail Support, said: “The study’s interesting in that it continues to highlight consumer dissatisfaction in the way retailers are failing to listen to their customers.

“Whilst we have come a long way over the last few years, continuous improvements need to be made to in-store layout to make for a more rewarding and enjoyable entry to exit journey – from fixtures and fittings and in-store lighting, to product availability and increased levels of customer service.”

Topline results:

What gets your goat about high street shopping? (Respondents were allowed to select multiple answers)

  • Queues: 41.8%
  • Misleading offers: 36.9%
  • Cramped shops: 35.7%
  • Aggressive salespeople: 35.3%
  • Other customers: 33.5%
  • Poorly informed staff: 25.1%
  • Poor product selection/low stock levels: 25.1%
  • Poor access: 19.5%
  • Poor quality products: 17.5%
  • Limited opening hours: 17.1%
  • Mislabelled products: 15.5%
  • Ugly displays: 10.6%
  • Other: 6.4%

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