The British high street is packed full of physical stores impacted heavily by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to assume that online businesses would be outperforming bricks and mortar stores, but are they?

To find out Raisin UK have reimagined the high street, looking at mobile and desktop search visibility to show which stores would dominate our shopping hubs in real life.


By comparing search engine visibility to revenue earnt, they were able to visualise how much space our online shops would command in comparison to brick and mortar stores if they were side by side, creating a virtual high-street.

Looking at stores from the fashion, general retail and grocery sector it was calculated just how the high-street would look for each of these sectors.

The most recent reports from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showed that Britain’s High Streets were on the rise prior to COVID-19. But did the reduction of physical shops available during lockdown cause people to save or splurge and would physical shopping look different if these online giants went head to head on the high street?

Fashion: Online fashion drives over 55% of the high street

E-commerce giants ASOS take over our reimagining, commanding 32.5% of the virtual high-street. Compared to Debenhams, the physical icon of the British high street at 24.8%.

So although ASOS is the go-to fashion site on the internet for multiple brands, if they wanted to, they could take over the high street too.

Fast-fashion brands Missguided, Pretty Little Thing and Boohoo would hold a strong place on the virtual high street too, standing up against shopping centre staples such as New Look, H&M and Topshop.

Collectively the online fashion stores would cover over 55% of their market despite their varying levels of revenue. So if the high street relied as heavily on search visibility as the internet, bricks and mortar shops would have to step up their game in order to stand up to the competition.

Fashion brands – search visibility and revenue

Name Presence Average Visibility Index % of High street Revenue
ASOS Online 128.455 32.5% £2,733,500,000.00
Debenhams Physical 97.995 24.8% £2,277,000,000.00
Boohoo Online 38.09 9.6% £1,230,000,000.00
New Look Physical 29.37 7.4% £1,239,000,000.00
Pretty Little Thing Online 27.94 7.1% £516,000,000.00
Missguided Online 26.55 6.78% £186,900,000.00
H&M Physical 21.645 5.5% £1,375,461,000.00
Zara Physical 13.98 3.59% £19,561,276,850.65
Topshop Physical 7.419 1.9% £847,000,000.00
Primark Physical 3.8245 1.0% £7,792,000,000.00

Amazon dominates online shopping and the high street

On the speculative shopping street for general retail, Amazon in the UK well and truly takes over with its percentage equating to 60.4% of the virtual high street. Unsurprisingly nothing comes close to the global titan with fellow online retailer eBay covering a mere 23.4% in comparison.

Although no other shops in this study come close to Amazon’s revenue, Boots is the closest of the physical shops with £104,611,450,500 but only claims 1.3% on our virtual high street.

Amazon dominates the internet, but what about high street staples such as Argos, Wilko’s and Poundland? Argos has maintained a strong position on the British high street since 1972 which proves that even when faced with titans such as Amazon that the British public still needs physical shops, maintaining 9.1% of the average visibility.

General retail – search visibility and revenue

Name Presence Average Visibility Index % of High street Revenue
Amazon Online 2736.05 60.4% £214,342,672,500.00
eBay Online 1059.30 23.4% £2,139,606,000.00
Argos Physical 411.28 9.1% £29,007,000,000.00
John Lewis Physical 134.00 3.0% £10,200,000,000.00
Boots Physical 58.56 1.3% £104,611,450,500.00
Halfords Physical 49.98 1.1% £1,138,600,000.00
Superdrug Physical 36.20 0.8% £1,283,000,000.00
Wilko Physical 29.90 0.7% £1,468,000,000.00
B&M Physical 12.32 0.3% £3,272,600,000.00
Poundland Physica 0.68 0.0% £2,611,159,879.50

Asda the UK’s largest online supermarket!

online vs offline

When it comes to supermarkets, Britain remains traditional with bricks and mortar stores such as Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys holding a strong position.

The online-only supermarket Ocado only commands 4.5% of search visibility on the hypothetical shopping street with much lower revenue compared to the physical shops.

Asda holds the strongest stance with 32.8% on the virtual high street even though close competitor Tesco makes just under three times as much in yearly revenue. Interestingly, this shows that the Asda brand stands up against Tesco’s revenue in terms of online search.

Supermarkets – search visibility and revenue

Name Presence Average Visibility Index % of High street Revenue
Asda Physical 52.525 32.8% £23,000,000,000.00
Tesco Physical 47.57 29.7% £64,800,000,000.00
Sainsbury’s Physical 27.87 17.4% £29,010,000,000.00
Waitrose Physical 9.69 6.1% £6,430,000,000.00
Aldi Physical 9.0205 5.6% £11,300,000,000.00
Ocado Online 7.2265 4.5% £1,700,000,000
Morrisons Physical 5.066 3.2% £17,740,000,000.00
Lidl Physical 0.93595 0.6% £89,900,000,000.00


Interestingly, despite online trends, the shops of the British high street have stayed strong throughout our hypothetical visualisation. Where you would imagine the titans of e-commerce would take over has revealed some interesting insights, exposing that the decline of the high street may not be as widespread as publicised.


Using our research we analysed the average revenue per store for the physical shops, using this to estimate how many stores the online brands would have based on their revenue.