UK consumers spent more than £7.2bn supporting local independent business last year.
Grocery stores, corner shops and pharmacies emerged as the best-supported, followed by restaurants, butchers and the likes of DIY and clothing stores in that order.
Leeds, Nottingham and Glasgow were found to be the three most locally-conscious cities in a report compiled by data gathered by the small business payment service, Tyl by NatWest.
The survey, which explored consumers’ pandemic purchasing habits and the motivations behind them, found that 84 per cent actively supported local independent businesses. The findings appear to show signs that the pandemic has created a more locally conscious consumer base for small businesses to tap into.
Nearly half of those surveyed said that they think they could do more to support them with the same amount planning to increase their spending – one in five of whom plan to increase spending at local independent businesses “significantly”.
The pandemic has fundamentally shifted consumer preferences, with the importance of developing card payment, cashless and online solutions made abundantly clear
Researchers asked consumers to share the top things that would help them to spend more often with local independents. The most popular response was for the business to have an online presence to provide convenience and navigate through lockdowns (25%).
Loyalty schemes (23%) and the ability to accept card payments (21%) also came in the top three, indicating the opportunities available for small businesses if they can adapt to shifting consumer preferences and continue to connect with customers.
Tyl CEO Mike Elliff said: “Small independent businesses, their leaders and their staff right across the UK have shown remarkable resilience over the past year under extraordinarily tough conditions.
“The pandemic has fundamentally shifted consumer preferences, with the importance of developing card payment, cashless and online solutions made abundantly clear. Through this research, we wanted to highlight the rising tide of support they have amongst locally conscious consumers and the opportunities this presents for recovery and growth.
“Now is the time to think about what steps you take as a business to cement the new relationships that have been built with your loyal local customers to make sure their business is retained beyond lockdown and the pandemic.”
More on Tyl by Natwest here