The future of high streets will very much be determined by a combination of localised offerings, a high level of personalization, and more service-led propositions, as opposed to simply identikit shops looking to sell consumers more commoditised stuff.
Neatly fitting into this template-for-the-future is the barbershop. I personally had not really considered them as a key component of the high street until I took at look at some research from grooming brand Bluebeards Revenge. It found that 95% of men stated that they visit the high street to visit their barbershop, which beats even the pub, with 76% of men visiting their high street for this reason.
I’m firmly in the camp of visiting the pub more frequently than the barbershop but for a growing number of men the frequency of visits to their local barbers has increased dramatically. With many more shorter styles now popular and a greater focus on male grooming the survey found that a hefty 93% of men visit their barbershop at least once per month, as many as 33% visit fortnightly, and 10% even make the trip every week (just like my grandmother used to).
They are also making these visits for a growing number of services – beyond the short back and sides of old – including wet shaves, beard trims and facials. The fact is in this increasingly digital world the barbershop, and hairdressers, offer something that cannot be bought online.
They are also the hub for plenty of gossip. It is difficult to think of a retail business that offers a more personalised service than one that provides chat tailored to each customer. However, I have to admit that my visits to the local barbershop do not involve masses of customised interaction because the native tongue of all the barbers is Turkish.
The favourable attributes of barbershops is resulting in them enjoying rather buoyant times, according to the Local Data Company, which found that more such shops have opened than restaurants, bars, tobacconists, cafes and tearooms, pizza takeaways, coffee shops and mobile phone stores. And the rate of openings even accelerated in 2017.
Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider
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