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Under 25s prefer to eat in town centres, suggests research

Words: Laura Edgar
Newcastle / Shutterstock_318544604

Research has found that people under the age of 25 visit town centres to eat rather than shop. 

Lichfields’ Newcastle office says the findings highlight the changes taking place on UK high streets – changes that are being “magnified” by the restrictions in places to control the spread of Covid-19.

The research, conducted in Newcastle city centre by Katherine Simpson, planner and chair of the RTPI young planners committee in the North East, found that 59 per cent of the 16 to 25 age group came to the city centre to eat, whereas 45 per cent came for non-food shopping.

“It is now apparent that unlike previous generations, today’s young people are looking for something different from a town centre experience,” Simpson explained.

“Whilst retailing remains important, younger people are less focused on visiting centres for shopping and have much more interest in visiting for other leisure uses, activities and events.”

According to the research*, 39 per cent of those asked prefer to shop online, 17 per cent browse online and shop in-store, and around a third browse and shop in-store. It also found that the health, beauty and wellbeing sector is growing and “dominates” the top 10 categories for physical retail growth. 

Barber shops, for example, grew by 782 units nationwide in 2019, while beauty salons grew by 473 outlets. Of the respondents to the survey, 10 per cent said visiting the hairdressers or health and beauty bars is one of their main reasons for going into town.

Simpson added: “Our research shows that young people still like to visit town centres but are now looking for something more and it is essential that policymakers understand these trends in order to woo to the next generation of consumers."

* The survey of 258 people aged 16 to 25 was conducted in September 2019. Of the responses, 230 were considered valid for analysis.

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