As the doors of Britain’s non-essential retailers reopen tomorrow, business owners are set for a £3.5 billion boost in the build up to Christmas as two thirds (66%) of people plan to buy gifts from independent shops, according to research from the British Independent Retailers Association and Starling Bank.
The UK is home to over 400,000 independent stores. When asked why they would opt to buy locally this year, more than two in five (43%) said they wanted to support independent businesses and the community due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. A similar proportion (42%) also said they wanted to enjoy an original gift selection, whilst 25% felt that local independent shops were more convenient.
Food glorious food
Of those choosing to shop with independent businesses, the average person will spend approximately £119 on gifts. Food and beverages are the most popular items to buy from independent shops (43%) followed by homeware (29%), clothing (27%) and jewellery (26%).
Keeping it local
Despite the shift to digital channels seen since the start of the pandemic, more than a quarter of shoppers (26%) are planning a trip to their local store, with the vast majority of these individuals opting to use contactless payments options (23%).
Online deliveries are set to be the most popular Christmas shopping method this year as people look to stay safe and healthy over the Christmas period. More than half (55%) of adults will be doing the majority of their shopping online, with 47% using home deliveries, and 8% using click and collect.
South West leads support for independent shops
The survey also found that shoppers in the South West were more likely than those from any other UK region or nation to seek out presents from independent shops, with just under three quarters (72%) stating their intention to do so. This was closely followed by 71% of residents in London and Scotland.
Backing from young people
The findings showed that young people were the most likely to be getting behind their local economies this Christmas, with three quarters (75%) of 18 to 34-year-olds stating their intention to buy gifts from independent shops, with this figure falling to 65% among 35 to 54-year-olds and 61% among over-55s.
Andrew Goodacre, Chief Executive of the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) commented: “This research shows the importance of independent retail to the communities throughout the UK. For most of the year we have seen ‘indies’ change their business model and increase their digital footprint. This will continue without forgetting about the local opportunity.”
Anne Boden, CEO and Founder of Starling Bank said: “Local businesses are the backbone of our economy and our communities. Independent retailers have had to show huge amounts of resilience weathering the storm this year and it’s been impressive to see how so many have quickly adapted, whether that be moving online or adjusting their business model.”