Since the recession started we’ve all heard that fateful phrase that strikes fear into the heart of every self-confessed shopaholic, “the death of the high street”. It’s enough to make a girl quake in her newly purchased Topshop ankle boots. Apparently it’s not just the recession that’s killing it though; the real nail in the coffin is every girl’s dirty secret – online shopping.

Despite the common theory that all women love shopping, online clothes retailer Marisota revealed in a survey that a shocking 48% of women have been harbouring a secret hatred for shopping. The reasons included lack of choice, rude sales staff and the dreaded changing room fear, all of which have contributed to the growing number of women shunning the high street and choosing to shop online.

The embarrassment of changing rooms and trouble finding the right size mean that some women actually find shopping increasingly stressful with 15% of women even confessing to have cried on a shopping trip. The time saving aspect of shopping online coupled with the comfort of being able to try outfits on in your own home, without embarrassment or judgemental sales staff, means that online shopping is a blessing for many uncomfortable shoppers.

Those of you who are expert online shoppers already will know, however, that there is a dark side to finding your retail therapy online. Delivery and return costs can up the price of a bargain and nothing is worse than the disappointment of a badly fitting dress you have been waiting a week for the postman to deliver.

The news of the downfall of HMV seems to have brought a new wave of worry for the future of the high street and while music shopping is now all about downloads it would be a shame for clothing retailers to move completely online, surely there is room for both? What the Marisota survey did highlight was that women’s concerns about shopping appeared to stem from body worries and lack of confidence rather than a real dislike of the high street and no amount of online shopping is going to fix the real issue of a woman’s body concerns.

Online shopping is a great opportunity to access brands and boutiques from around the world all from the comfort of your living room but it would be a real shame to lose the great British high street all together; after all what are we going to do on our lunch break if there is no Topshop?

By Samantha Vandersteen

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