The desire to support small, local, independent businesses this Christmas remains strong in the UK.
A survey by Visa has found that four in five consumers were shopping local as much or more than before the pandemic. Working from home is keeping spending local, and in turn that is helping support local businesses.
Several online sites have popped up across the UK to give local businesses an online presence when bricks and mortar shops had to close. ‘Bookshop’ opened in November, giving consumers an alternative to buying books on Amazon and instead supporting local bookshops. ‘Love Record Stores’ started back in March to help the indie music industry and ‘Locally UK’ reported a rise in traffic from 20,000 page views a month to 120,000 during lockdown!
These initiatives could not have come sooner for independent shops on the UK high street.
Footfall figures for last weekend [5th and 6th December] showed that numbers were still well below pre-pandemic levels. On average, shopper numbers were a quarter below 2019 levels, according to market research firm Springboard. Across the UK as a whole, footfall was down by 30% compared to the same December weekend last year.
However , in one encouraging sign for retailers and small business owners, shoppers seem far more comfortable returning to public shopping areas after the second national lockdown than they did after the first.
Footfall across England was 60% higher this weekend than on 20-21 June, the first weekend shops were allowed to reopen after the country’s first lockdown, which began in March.
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Sources: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/dec/06/boom-in-websites-supporting-local-uk-shops-amid-covid-lockdowns and https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-55209743