Despite the tough economic environment, the nation’s support for small, independent businesses remains high, according to new research. The study by American Express to mark this year’s Small Business Saturday (2 December 2023) shows that over the past 10 years, 70% of Britons have become more aware of the positive impact small businesses have on local communities.
The research suggests more than 11 million Britons hit their local high street or shopped online at a small business on Small Business Saturday, spending a collective £669m. Top reasons for shopping small included wanting to support business owners on the high street (45%) and recognising it being a tough year for small business (38%).
Of those consumers upping their support for small businesses, they are doing so in a variety of ways; three fifths (61%) say they are shopping small where possible; over half (56%) are recommending small businesses to friends and family; and almost a third (30%) are following them on social media.
Looking ahead, almost two thirds (63%) of Britons agree that they will continue to shop at small businesses throughout the festive season. A similar proportion (66%) will continue to shop at small businesses next year because of the positive impact they have on their local community.
Support for this year’s Small Business Saturday came from Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, who welcomed small businesses, charities, and local communities to Downing Street as part of a festive Christmas market. Government ministers joined MPs from all political parties, as well as local councils in positing their support across social media.
Michelle Ovens, Director of Small Business Saturday, said: “Although the weather was chilly, the nation’s hearts were warm with small business love and support this Small Business Saturday. It remains a tough economic environment for both businesses and consumers, which makes it all the more encouraging to see how much the UK appreciates and actively supports its small and local businesses. These businesses, these founders and employers and innovators, are the heart and soul of the economy and communities, so it’s great to see the continued intention to show them support throughout the festive season and into 2024.”
Dan Edelman, Vice President and UK General Manager, Merchant Services, American Express, said: “Our research shows Britons’ support for small businesses remains strong, with people across the country choosing to shop small on Small Business Saturday. Despite the challenging environment, it’s tremendously encouraging that consumers say they will continue to spend with and support these businesses not only over the rest of the festive season, but into next year too.”
American Express is founder and principal supporter of Small Business Saturday, which encourages consumers to ‘shop small’ and support businesses in their communities. It is the UK’s most successful small business campaign; over the 11 years it has been running in the UK, it has engaged millions of shoppers and seen billions of pounds spent with small businesses.