Feb 10, 2021
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Pandemic creates love for local businesses, clothing and beauty make the top 10

Feb 10, 2021

There can be few retail upsides to lockdown but one has emerged: local independent businesses saw an upswing in shopper demand during the pandemic restrictions in 2020. More specifically, clothing stores and beauty salons both ranked in the top 10.

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UK shoppers spent an estimated £7.2bn with local independent businesses last year as the Covid-19 restrictions meant more consumers looked closer to home for services, according to new data from SME payments service Tyl by NatWest.

Its survey showed over 80% of the 4,000 UK respondents actively supported local independent businesses in 2020, with 22% saying they planned to increase spending at local independent businesses “significantly” in 2021.

OK, local support for clothing stores (17%) and beauty services (23%) was way behind grocers (45%) and corner shops (42%), but at least they came 10th and 7th, respectively, with gardening and DIY stores squeezed in-between.

Some 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%.

Areas of greatest local support was topped by Leeds, with Nottingham, Glasgow, Sheffield and London rounding out the top five.

Tyl chief executive 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”.

He added: “The pandemic has fundamentally shifted consumer preferences, with the importance of developing card payment, cashless and online solutions made abundantly clear.

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