AR/BA/SON MARKET | RESEARCH ANALYSIS
Identifying the Problem
First Problem - Economic Structure
As of 2019, the high street saw an alarming rate of increased store closures and vacant rentals; and according to the analysis by PwC and high street analysts, the LDC, more than five shops closed per week within the first six months of operation (BBC, 2019). The reasons that could possibly be responsible for this can be cited in reference to the rising uncertainties surrounding Brexit, the ease of online retail, the impact of unaffordable business rates, and the recorded 4.8% footfall decrease on the high street (BBC, 2019).
Second Problem - Audience Interest
Due to the ease of mass-production and societies clear obsession with obsolescent “status-symbol” brands that has resulted in society placing little to no value on how things are made; which in turn barricades local designers from the high street playing field. As much as the treasure hunt is part of the experience in discovering local designers, the publics disinterest is conceivably due to lack of presence, and crucially, local designers are provided with no opportunity to exist and participate in this same field; as the high street has become a high-stakes monopoly and over-saturated with global brands.
Third Problem - Pandemic Fallout
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many countries to take extreme measures in widespread lockdowns, with the majority of the global population under ‘stay at home’ orders and following strict social distancing regulations, in order to combat the further spread of the virus. This has left large production lines halted and has disrupted supply chains, due to consumer precautions. It has also forced non-essential retail to close their doors, leaving streets deserted, and as a result could potentially instigate a detrimental economic recession, affecting both local and global economies (Nielsen, 2020).
The Overall Effect
Local designers do not have the capital or brand presence to afford the astronomical rental costs of the high street, causing Scotland-based designers to be marginalised within the primary retail districts; exponentially decreasing their potential customer audiences, and limiting these designers potential economic growth and success. The pandemic has also systematically established a distrust and fear of any social interaction, which as a result has lead to environments created for social gatherings to become places of fear. However, this pandemic could perhaps be the tipping point in the growing campaign to support local business, possibly irreversibly changing longtime purchasing habits; as a Nielsen survey found that global consumers reported that 34% were often heavily swayed by a product's origin of a product (Nielsen, 2020).
The Publics View
BBC News. 2019. 'Five Shops Closing Per Week' On High Streets. [online] Available at:
<https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-49647904> [Accessed 25 April 2020].
BBC News. 2019. High Street Retailers See Drop In Footfall. [online] Available at:
<https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-49311259> [Accessed 25 April 2020].
Nielsen.com. 2020. COVID-19 Concerns Are A Likely Tipping Point For Local Brand Growth. [online] Available at: <tipping-point-for-local-brand-growth/> [Accessed 25 April 2020].