An absolute scorcher for sales on Britain’s local high streets


The heatwave and ‘pingdemic’ have sparked a local high street shopping bonanza, it has emerged.

As the mercury soared above 30C this week, so too have sales at garden, convenience and DIY stores across the country, according to new data.

While the record-setting temperatures have seen hundreds flock to beaches to cool off, sweltering Britons staying closer to home have prompted a 339 per cent uplift in demand for paddling pools.

Retail technology firm NearSt recorded soaring searches for fans (+388%), sprinklers (+296%) and hoses (+181%) since the country began basking in the warm weather.

Picnic supplies (+ 88%), ice packs (+165%) and cooler bags (+79%) have been increasingly sought after items too as England recorded some of its hottest temperatures of the year.

A spokesperson for NearSt also confirmed an increase in purchasing power from the ‘furry pound’, as concerned pet owners scrambled for solutions that would provide respite from the heat for their four-legged friends.

A total of 3.2 million households in the UK have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association.

As a nation with now over 17 million pet-owning homes, searches rocketed for cooling pet bandanas (All for Paws Chill Out Ice Bandanas +300%), dog-friendly frozen yoghurt (Frozzy’s frozen yoghurt +208%) and cooling mats ( +407%).

NearSt, founded in 2015 by Max Kreijn and Nick Brackenbury, allows people searching for products online to see where they are stocked in nearby bricks and mortar stores. Shops install software that connects to their point of sale or inventory system so that stock shows up in online search results in places like Google and Facebook.

The data was identified by analysing local product search data for England, Scotland and Wales between 2 July and 22 July 2021 through its platform.

It is a measure of people looking to find products in local high street shops that are showing stock in-store in places like Google.

Analysts at the company spotted the trend after monitoring data a week before and a week post temperatures started to soar around the 14th July.

NearSt’s data also tells a story of how consumers are being diverted back to Britain’s high streets as a result of the ‘Pingdemic’.

The number of people being “pinged” by the NHS Covid-19 app has risen sharply over recent weeks, causing difficulties for some industries as large numbers of staff are having to stay at home and self-isolate.

A cabinet minister and supermarkets urged Britons this week not to panic buy after warnings of an epidemic of empty shelves this summer unless staff and delivery drivers are exempt from self-isolating when ‘pinged’.

M&S warned one in five – 20% – of its workforce could be isolating at home by the middle of next month.

With shoppers spotting shortages in supermarkets including bottled water and ice cream , NearSt has similarly witnessed online searches for ‘bottled water near me’ rise by 32 per cent and ‘frozen desserts nearby’ by 96 per cent respectively, as shoppers look for alternative stockists.

NearSt chief executive Nick Brackenbury said: “After a miserable start to the year weather-wise, it’s great to see that Brits are really making the most of the warmer temperatures.”

“Our data shows that shoppers all over the country are increasingly realizing how simple it has become to use online search engines like Google to look for products on their local high streets.

“Moreover, shop owners are also seeing that online can actually be a potent ally in driving footfall into stores, by making their entire inventory visible in real time to shoppers searching on the net.

“It’s providing a real welcome boost for bricks and mortar stores.”

Each month the NearLIVE platform captures over three billion local data points covering almost every corner of retail.