In-person shopping is back, according to retailers in Norwich, as more people ditch online browsing to return to the high street.

Business owners say they've seen a surge in people shopping in-store over the past six months, a notable change from the decline in foot traffic reported since the Covid pandemic. 

The Royal Arcade, a hotspot for independent local retailers, said more than 2.2m people visited it in 2023 - up 0.7pc on the previous year. 

Suzanne White, co-owner of beauty and wellness store Juni and Co, said she’s noticed a shift away from online orders, with more people looking to try out products before buying them. 

She said: "Already this year we have seen our regular customers coming into our store to top up their favourite "go to" products, which is far easier to do in-store than online.

“It seems that local people often use our website to research our wide range of products and to see what's new, and they then visit us with ideas of what they'd like to try. 

“We provide personalised skincare and makeup advice as nothing can beat the experience of sampling fragrances, textures and colours in person, a trend we think is on the rise."

The trend reflects the national picture, with high street fashion chain Next reporting unexpectedly high sales in the lead up to Christmas, despite online sales dropping 11pc on the previous year.

Eastern Daily Press: Shoppers are returning to the high street in NorwichShoppers are returning to the high street in Norwich (Image: Newsquest)

Simon Ashdown, director of LPC1, which manages the Royal Arcade Norwich, said he expects in-person shopping to continue gaining in popularity throughout 2024.

He said: “Customers are looking for a more engaging experience. 

“What they really value is the ability to talk to an expert and touch, feel and even try on before buying. 

“We would expect this to be reflected in further footfall increases in 2024.”