85.8% of people living in Manchester still prefer shopping in-store

A new public survey from retail destination King Street has revealed that nearly 86% of people living in Manchester still prefer to shop in-store.

The report surveyed 207 individual residents of Greater Manchester and asked a series of questions – to better understand their opinions of Manchester over the past year, and how they feel about retail, events and hospitality returning to the city in the future.

With zero respondents wanting to solely shop online, the report paints a positive outlook for the future of retail post-COVID.

The survey also highlighted which values are most important to individuals when choosing to spend with a brand, with 48.3% responding ‘quality’ and 43% selecting ‘customer service’, alongside other factors of enjoying a unique experience and the brand’s reputation.

Tom Royston, associate director at DTZ Investors, commented: “This report is evidence of Manchester’s thirst for retail and how the sector is destined for a resurgence once restrictions are lifted. To see such enthusiasm for shopping in-store serves as a great vote of confidence in King Street.”

He added: “The values that shoppers prioritise are features that a lot of the premium brands at King Street offer; exemplary customer service, high quality, and an exciting unique experience.

“The strategy we devised for King Street since becoming majority stakeholder in the district was geared around customer experience and experiential activations, and the results of this survey

highlight that we’ll continue to see a demand for that type of retail experience moving forward.

“There were concerns as we moved through the pandemic that consumer habits had shifted towards online-only shopping, so it’s great to see that talk of the ‘death’ of bricks-and-mortar

stores was unfounded.”

As well as highlighting Manchester’s enthusiasm for in-store retail, the report also stated that, upon lockdown ending, 78.5% of people are most excited about visiting restaurants, followed by

57.6% selecting pubs or bars.

Bars were also mentioned when the respondents were asked what they would like to see more of in the city: 28% of respondents said more independent pop up businesses or bars are what

they would most like to see.

One contributor said that they would like to see ‘more outdoor areas, independent bars and restaurants, outdoor markets and pop ups, more live music events’.

Another stated ‘I’d like to see more pedestrianised areas, more greenery and more outdoor summer dining/entertainment and a huge celebration to see the end of lockdown.’

Outdoor green spaces were a focus for many others too, with 40% of respondents saying they’d like to see more planting and community art in the city.

Consumer appetite for socialising post-lockdown also seeps into the event sector, as 93.7% of respondents said they would feel comfortable attending events (with or without safety

measures) when lockdown eases.

Tom added “It’s apparent that the people of Manchester are excited for life to return to normal as quickly as possible and to, once again, be able to partake in a myriad of social

activities.”

“With such a high percentage of people feeling confident to attend events, there’s going to be a real hankering for social experiences. From gigs to meals out to shopping to nights out on the

town, after nearly a year of restrictions, we can expect a return to vibrant form for Manchester post-COVID.”

He concluded: “King Street is a key part of that story. The amazing selection of restaurants, bars and retailers on King Street, alongside its capability to host bespoke events, pop ups and live

entertainment, will stand the street in great stead.”

“This survey has provided a chance to evaluate what new ideas, in company with the offerings already in place, could inspire the people of Manchester to visit King Street. There’s an

opportunity to push for more events, more green spaces and, generally, more exciting, forward-facing ideas.”

Laura Carroll, managing director at DS Emotion, said “This research supports the placemaking strategy that we have been implementing on King Street for the past 3 years, which is great to

see. We are really enthused to see that the appetite for activations remains strong amongst the Mancunian public.”

“As such, we are producing an exciting calendar of events within the safe environment of our open-air pedestrianised location and inside available units. To ensure the safety of these events,

we are working closely with both the tenants to ensure the safe return of shoppers and the BID and Manchester City Council to ensure the physical environment is structured according to

safety guidance.”

She added “With the research conveying the consumer’s verve for a return to normality combined with King Street’s ongoing commitment to safety, it is a really exciting time for King

Street.”

King Street is a historic retail destination that has long established itself as the premium shopping destination in Manchester.

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