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Pandemic fosters greater love for indie clothing and beauty stores

Gaelle Walker
09 February 2021

UK shoppers spent an estimated £7.2bn with local independent businesses in 2020, as the Coronavirus pandemic fostered a locally conscious consumer base, new data from SME payments service Tyl by NatWest shows.

More than 80% of UK respondents said they actively supported local independent business in 2020, with independent beauty services and clothing stores both ranking in the top ten types of businesses that consumers most shopped with and bought through during the pandemic - with 22% saying they planned to increase spending at local independent businesses “significantly” in 2021.

Just under a third (35%) of respondents said they purchased goods and services through small independent business in a bid to support the local economy and create jobs, followed by reducing their environmental impact.

When asked what would make them spend more at local independents, the most popular choices for consumers were a greater online presence 25%, loyalty schemes 23% and accepting card payments 21%.

Leeds, Nottingham, Glasgow, Sheffield and London ranked as the top UK cities by percentage of income spent with local independents, followed by Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Belfast.

Tyl chief executive officer 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.”

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