Buying more of your Christmas dinner ingredients, loved ones’ presents or home decorations from a local business could double the amount of money that stays in your community, according to new research commissioned by Visa.
- Consumers can double the amount of money that stays within their local economy by consciously choosing to shop more with independent, local businesses, finds a new report from Visa and the Cebr (Centre for Economics and Business Research)
- For every £10 spent with an independent business – from a Christmas turkey to a bottle of wine or a gift for a loved one – £3.80 is retained locally
- Over half of Brits (54%) plan to do some of their Christmas shopping locally this year, either online or in store, while four in five (81%) are supporting local businesses as much, or more than, before the Covid-19 pandemic
- Despite this support, three in five consumers (62%) are worried independent businesses will not survive if their local community does not back them through this time.
After a year of upheaval for independent businesses, Visa has released key findings from its upcoming report created in partnership with Cebr (Centre for Economic & Business Research). The socio-economic report launches alongside Visa’s Where You Shop Matters Christmas campaign, championing Britain’s local, independent businesses for a third consecutive year.
According to the research, for every £10 we spend with a local business, more than a third (£3.80) stays within the area, showing the value of shopping locally. The research also found that currently Brits spend just over a fifth of their money locally, however they would be willing to spend half of their money with local businesses.
By choosing to shop local this Christmas, consumers could double the amount of money that stays in their local area at a critical time for Britain’s small businesses.
The community benefits of shopping local
Over half of Brits surveyed (54%) say it’s important to them to shop locally because they know how much their custom means, while 43% say they get a boost of happiness when they support local shopkeepers. Consumers also believe that local businesses contribute to their community by employing local people (49%), making the area into a nicer place to live (39%) and keeping it vibrant and buzzing (38%).
Meanwhile, one in five (18%) own or are employed by a local business themselves so understand first-hand what community support means to them. Despite this, three in five consumers (62%) remain worried that independent businesses will not survive if their local community does not back them.
Jeni Mundy, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Visa comments: “Where we choose to shop matters. While for many of us, shopping locally is simply a convenient way to purchase goods and services, for local business owners it’s the lifeline they rely on, especially in these challenging times. Our research with the Cebr has found the extent to which communities prosper when we all support local businesses, so continuing this support at Christmas – and beyond – will have a profound impact on how our communities recover.”
Likelihood to shop local across the UK
This Christmas, consumers plan to show their local businesses some love with 81% of those surveyed planning to give them as much, or more, support than before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Londoners are the most likely to shop locally, currently spending £3.05 of every £10 with independent businesses near them. However, they estimate that up to £5.78 of every £10 could be spent locally if they made the choice to further support businesses in their area.
Those in Wales and the South West are the least likely to shop locally, spending just £1.94 of every £10 – but estimate they could increase this spend to almost £5 in every tenner.
Invaluable support during a challenging year
Consumer support in 2020 has been crucial for many independent businesses, proving the power of community spirit during lockdown. In fact, over half of shopkeepers (54%) admit the support of their local community has meant a lot and helped them to keep going through this difficult year.
Word of mouth recommendations were the most valued type of support (63%) followed by customers choosing to spend money with their business (46%) and support their business on social media (19%).
Fiona Cox, Senior Economist at Cebr comments: “Our research, in partnership with Visa, looked to quantify the local economic impact associated with shopping at local goods and services providers. We hypothesised that such firms would have a more localised supply chain and customer base, and indeed, the results indicate that, owing to the concentration of local suppliers and employees, almost 40% of money that is spent locally, stays locally, providing support to local merchants and to their communities.”
Visa’s Where You Shop Matters campaign is a long-term global commitment that recognises the essential role that local, independent businesses play in our communities. Throughout the year, Visa has been drawing on its network of industry, technology, and community partners to provide much needed assistance to local businesses as they rebuild for recovery. Visa has also committed to digitally enable eight million small businesses across Europe.
To celebrate what shopping locally means to independent businesses, this year’s Christmas advert from Visa will feature real businesses from across the UK talking about what the support of their community means to them.
Bon-Tot is an eco-conscious children’s store based in Edinburgh and winner of Visa’s Christmas national TV ad competition last year. When talking about the importance of the Christmas shopping period, owner Kristina Currie describes how all the hard work throughout the year leads up to these months, making consumer support all the more important.
This year has been a great opportunity for Kristina and husband Graham to really grow their connection with their customers and the community around them through social media, where their online presence has been key. Whilst it has been a difficult year for most, Kristina thinks it has also allowed consumers to think harder about how important every pound is to each business. As a popular city for university students, it has been interesting to see how the younger generation have supported the business and been driving the important message of shopping locally.
Kristina believes that word of mouth is still one of the most important ways the local community can support their business and the interaction they have with their customers is what keeps Bon-Tot going. Looking ahead, the team at Bon-Tot are confident that the future of independent businesses will continue to evolve and thrive with local support.
As Kristina says: “Having a strong community of independent businesses working together is great as it gives both consumers and businesses owners an opportunity to connect with each other and get that personal interaction which we know is needed more than ever right now. At a time when everyone is feeling quite isolated, I think that we have created a sense of community here at Bon Tot, making people feel part of our business and connected to their local area.”