Retailers are troubled. The past few months have seen a wave of headlines declaring abysmal sales and store closures. But while there’s definitely reason to dread the retail apocalypse, there’s cause to be hopeful as tech-savvy millennials are increasingly becoming more interested in buying things at local markets, according to a new survey commissioned by Google and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and supported by the Federation of Small Businesses.
Having polled 2,050 Brits, the researchers kicked off by unveiling what could initially sound like dissatisfying results where 46% searched for local markets less today than they did five years ago. However, things quickly took a brighter turn when the researchers looked at the people aged between 18 and 34. 30% of millennials visited markets at least weekly compared to only 16% of those aged 45 and over. Moreover, millennials are shown to be splashing out an average of £35.41 per trip in a raise to the average £15.18 spent by those over the age of 45.
Even though the collapse of traditional retailers is often linked to the dawn of online shopping, it seems as if the internet plays a pivotal part in driving customers to markets. For instance, 44% of millennials are using the internet to learn about local markets compared to 29% of those aged 45 and above. In fact, the search term ‘market near me’ has ballooned by 3,000% over the past five years.
Commenting on the findings Roman Harris, managing director at Google UK, said: “Despite their rich and entrepreneurial heritage, markets are facing significant challenges in today’s economy, as competition from supermarkets, shopping centres and online stores grows and digital technologies transform how people live, work and shop.
“Today, millennials are visiting more, spending more, and heading online more than their seniors to seek out their local markets.”
Although the internet may have marred the waters for some retailers, technology seems to actually be helping some vendors find new customers. Maybe more retailers should consider opening pop-up shops at their local markets to boost their sales?