Almost half of Brits (42%) have vowed to shop at small or independent businesses more this Christmas compared to previous years, according to a new study.
With the festive season fast approaching, Nucleus Commercial Finance surveyed the public to find out more about their shopping plans for this Christmas, as well as their overall habits, and pinpoint which UK city is the most ‘small business friendly’.
According to the study, just 9% of Brits currently shop solely or mainly at small or independent stores. However, it looks like more will be looking to ‘shop small’ for their Christmas presents this year, in comparison to previous years.
But what are the reasons behind this change in attitude?
The main motivating factor for Brits looking to ‘shop more local’ seems to be a specific effort to support independent companies (12%), while 9% think it will save them money, and 8% say they’re doing so for better quality.
The data also seems to suggest that local and independent businesses may benefit from targeting younger age groups, with two thirds (60%) of Millennials and almost half (46%) of Gen Z-ers saying that they will be buying more from independent retailers this Christmas.
Amongst those who, on the other hand, will buy more from big chains for this festive season, cost seems to be the main driver, with 21% saying they believe they’ll save money this way, followed by convenience (16%) and faster shipping (11%).Sadly, with the cost of living crisis biting, over one in ten Brits (12%) said they will be foregoing Christmas presents completely this year.
What are the most ‘small business friendly’ cities in the UK?
As part of their study, Nucleus Commercial Finance also investigated where in the UK consumers tend to shop solely or mainly at small and/or independent stores, and will be looking to do so more for the upcoming festive season, to determine the most ‘small business-friendly’ locations.
London came out on top, thanks to a high percentage of its residents regularly buying from independent stores for a variety of products, and intending on buying more from these businesses for their Christmas gifts this year as well. London scored 89 out of a possible 100 points in Nucleus’s ranking, and was followed by Birmingham (79) and Belfast (76).
The most ‘small business-friendly’ cities:
- London (89 out of a possible 100)
- Birmingham (79/100)
- Belfast (76/100)
- Bristol (74/100)
- Cardiff (69/100)
- Plymouth (66/100)
- Leeds (64/100)
- Nottingham (61/100)
- Oxford (60/100)
- Liverpool (59/100)
As part of the research, Nucleus Commercial Finance also spoke to owners of independent companies from different UK locations, to find out if they have seen an increase in support in preparation for the festive season, and if the shift in attitudes is happening already.
Kate Tompsett, Owner of Happy & Glorious in Kent, said, “Everyone is being incredibly supportive. I am lucky to have my shop a few doors down from Canterbury Cathedral’s gate and surrounded by other independent shops. Footfall is fantastic, and the street is starting to get a brilliant reputation for its mix of indie cafes and shops. There’s a great business community here, and we work together to come up with special events and cross promotions to give us all a boost.
Sales online for this month are up by 37% compared to the same period last year. I’m incredibly fortunate that once I get a customer, they tend to return and buy from me again. This year, 24% of my online sales have been from repeat customers. I may not be as speedy at dispatch as a larger companies, but every item is gift wrapped, with a pack of wild flower seeds and a thank you note.
For this festive season, I have been focusing my buy on smaller items – people are conscious of spend right now, so items around the £5-15 mark are just as important as the special gifts around the £50 mark.
Special offers, exclusive evenings and concentrating on making my marketing fun and uplifting are also extremely important. I am also looking at restarting my creative workshops, (which fell by the wayside during Covid). People are still craving shared experiences and creativity, perhaps more than products, so I am planning a host of events for the new year, so that people can gift them to others for the festive season.”
Chirag Shah, Founder and CEO at Nucleus Commercial Finance said, “It’s undeniable the past year has been a hard one for many small businesses across the country, with the cost of living impacting them through increased expenses, and fears they’ll lose customers due to many having less disposable income.
However, our research has shown that despite many across the country still favouring bigger chains, a growing number of customers will be turning to independent shops this Christmas, often in a specific effort to support them, creating a huge opportunity for growth.”
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