ParcelHero asks: will 2030 signal the death of the High Street?

The rise in ecommerce means Britain’s town centres will be unrecognisable within 15 years, according to a new study.

A report by online parcel delivery service ParcelHero entitled ‘2030: The Death of the High Street’ suggests the impact of ecommerce shopping and home deliveries will wipe out 50% of town centre stores, and will spell the end for many well-known retailers by 2030.

ParcelHero’s head of consumer research David Jinks said: “The number of familiar high street names being drowned by the growth of the internet shows no signs of abating.”

The report’s main findings are:

Vanishing stores

ParcelHero predicts that between 2020 and 2030 half of the UK’s existing shop premises will have disappeared. In 1950 there were 600,000 stores in the UK, in 2012 there were 290,000 and just 220,000 will survive by 2020, it says (based on statistics from The Centre for Retail Research).

With home deliveries increasing rapidly, the decade from 2020 to 2030 will see a further 100,000 stores close if this trend continues and e-commerce grows exponentially, leaving just 120,000 shops on our high street.

E-commerce conquers all

By 2030, e-commerce will account for around 40% of all UK retail sales.

Tipping point

Supermarket’s physical store sales will slump from 42% to 24% by 2030: and that’s not enough to remain viable, ParcelHero asserts.

Superstores, department stores and other chains rely on volume because of their small margins. Many well-known store brands will reach tipping point, and will vanish from the high street.

Crumbling department stores

ParcelHero says bricks-and-mortar department stores have crumbled, partly under the attack of e-commerce. Of the surviving 200 large businesses, 48 businesses are already labelled in danger and 53 made a loss last year. How long can the sector continue?

Fashion victims

Clothing stores have rapidly disappeared from shop fronts. ParcelHero claims that in 2013 alone, there was a net loss of 264 fashion stores from our high street. It says the online fashion industry could reach £36.2 billion by 2030: 63% of the market compared to today’s 21%. Online retailers are stripping the shirt from the back of high street clothing stores.

Estate of the art

There are 17,972 estate agents on UK High Streets. ParcelHero states. In 2030 there may be none. The impact of the arrival of online property websites and puts the search in the hands of house buyers rather than at the mercy of town centre estate agents. As the internet becomes estate agent’s new shop window, there will be little need for expensive town centre premises.

Don’t bank on it

As we move to online banking around 9,000 bank and building society branches have been closed since 1989 – and more closures are planned.

The final chapter

Remember Borders, Books Etc, Dillons and Ottaker’s? The traditional high street book store industry is collapsing at 2.3% sales decline a year; with just 1,071 retail businesses remaining, says ParcelHero. It predicts: ‘By 2030 we could reached many bookshops’ final chapter with just 535 left in our major towns and cities.’

Cannibalising sales: John Lewis is one company pushing ahead online, along with Tesco. E-commerce could save well-known brands but these sales will be at the expense of companies’ own physical stores.

Back to the future

High streets must return to a Victorian model. Shopping should become a more social experience again, with local food deliveries increasing based on Uber-style crowd source Apps. Residential homes must also return to high streets to prevent ‘no go’ areas after 6pm.


ParcelHero’s interactive timeline charting the demise of a selection of High Street brands is at


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