Manchester’s evolving relationship with the digital marketplace

Like many cities across the UK and indeed around the world, Manchester has changed as a result of the impact of the digital marketplace. From humble beginnings in the late 1980s and early 1990s, internet users can now access a world of information, entertainment, and shopping from the palms of their hands.

This evolution has undoubtedly delivered huge benefits for the economy at large, making doing business globally an instantaneous process, while also providing new ways for people to entertain themselves, whether from the comfort of their couch or while on the go.

But how has the emergence of the digital marketplace affected Manchester? In this article, we will identify three areas that have experienced change, and which will likely continue to evolve as the habits of consumers change.

Food shopping

The markets of Manchester and its surrounding conurbations were once the first choice for food shopping, with greengrocers, bakers, and butchers all a part of the weekly habit for local families.

These smaller stalls were gradually replaced by supermarkets, offering everything under one roof, with ‘the big four’ of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Morrisons each commanding their own sizeable footprint in and around the city.

But the 21st century has seen the introduction of online shopping, with digital-only retailers like Ocado taking customers out of the supermarket. Elsewhere, apps like Uber Eats, JustEat and Deliveroo have helped connect local citizens to their favourite takeaways with just a couple of taps.

Leisure and entertainment


Of course, Manchester’s leisure and entertainment scene is a big part of what makes it famous, and such a popular spot for students and young professionals with disposable income.

The city is home to two of the world’s biggest football teams, countless bars and pubs, and no shortage of casinos. It’s a true tapestry of distractions and enough to make your head spin, but the sector is also undergoing several changes.

In particular, the rise of online casino gaming has impacted the gambling sector, primarily by introducing a new generation of players to some of the most popular games. For example, platforms like Casushi offer many of the biggest titles to players on mobile and tablet, allowing them to learn the rules without ever stepping foot in a physical casino.

Retail therapy

Manchester has been known as one of the UK’s premier shopping destinations for centuries. From the city’s traditional markets, through to the city centre Arndale, Deansgate, and The Trafford Centre, which opened its doors in 1998.

It’s clear that our city and the wider region isn’t short of retail destinations and the choice is now even greater thanks to the industry’s online boom. The majority of businesses in the city centre have internet presences, allowing shoppers to purchase and collect in-store or have items delivered to their house.

This change has enabled many retailers to evolve their output and grow their operation, while others have chosen to pivot away from physical shops completely and today do all of their business online, meaning they are missing from the Manchester high street.

As you can see, the growth of the digital marketplace has had a profound impact on Manchester and its culture. It’s fair to say that the changes have brought positives and negatives to city, but what’s clear still is that the digital marketplace will only get bigger.