A quarter of older people feel shut out of UK High Streets, according to research by charity, Anchor, which predicts up to £4.5 billion annual losses by 2030 as retailers fail to attract the grey pound.
A report entitled ‘Older generations to rescue the high street’ by the Centre for Future Studies shows that 24% of older people say self-checkout machines put them off from shopping and 35% would be deterred by the introduction of robots. Chief Executive at Anchor, Jane Ashcroft, comments: “Going shopping is something most of us take for granted and yet many thousands of older people feel excluded from our High Streets. This is an issue not to be overlooked, as it increases older people’s isolation and loneliness, in turn affecting health and wellbeing. It’s also important for retailers who are missing out on huge amounts of revenue. We must value older people - everyone should have the chance to live life to the fullest, regardless of age.”
As baby boomers reach older age and the strength of the grey pound rockets, High Streets must dramatically overhaul themselves into age-friendly integrated community environments. The alternative, by 2030, is the demise of the High Street with the disappearance of banks, estate agents, and many well-known brands - leaving just 120,000 shops remaining nationwide. The effects of this stretch beyond the economy, contributing to the prospect of 8.7 million lonely older people in the UK by 2030.
Dr Frank Shaw, Foresight Director at the Centre for Future Studies, says: “Baby boomers are an economic force to be reckoned with. As they enter older age, their refusal to retire quietly is an opportunity to reinvigorate the high street, transforming it into a diverse, prosperous, and age-friendly environment. The alternative, £4.5 billion annual losses and the death of the High Street, will be devastating not just for older people but for everyone.”