A third of Brits are more likely to "shop small" since lockdown
BRITAIN'S small businesses are facing a boost as more than a third of shoppers vow to support independent retailers more than ever before following the pandemic.
A study of 2,000 adults found 34% started to shop more with small businesses due to the lockdowns and want to continue this even as life goes back to normal.
Half of those would rather spend their money with a small business than a large national firm, and 63% want to help the local economy.
Another 53% also want to help small independent firms recover from Covid and Brexit.
But it’s younger people who are leading the charge with half (49%) of 18-24 year-olds planning to support small businesses more post-pandemic, along with 43% of 25-34 year-olds.
In comparison, just 24% of those aged 65 and over said the same.
Top 10 small businesses Brits have shopped at over the last 12 months:
1. Butcher (37%)
2. Independent bakery (36%)
3. Independent coffee shop (32%)
4. Small corner shop (29%)
5. Greengrocer (25%)
6. Gift shop (19%)
7. Independent hairdressers / barbers (18%)
8. Independent restaurants (17%)
9. Independent florist (15%)
10. Pub (15%)
The research was commissioned by Vistaprint which has teamed up with futurist Andrew Grill to predict what the next five years and beyond holds for small businesses.
This includes the "rapid adaptation of robotics and automation when preparing food and beverages" to help lower costs and boost profit margins for local restaurants and cafes.
While "Non-Fungible Tokens" (NFTs) will transform the way things are bought and sold, and we will also see the rebirth of QR codes.
Andrew Grill said: “If 2020 was the year of work from home, 2021 is the year of the small business.
Andrew Grills predictions for small business over the next five years and beyond, by sector:
- In five years, most consumers will have some sort of wearable, transmitting real-time data on their health and wellbeing to a personal health agent that can prescribe the best treatments and assess diet and mental health issues.
- "Digital pills" will emerge that will provide a rapid digital "Health MOT".
- Improvements in voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri and the addition of always-on "ambient audio" will listen to our speech patterns for signs of stress or discomfort.
- To take advantage of this increased level of health and wellbeing data, small businesses need to invest time to understand how the sector will be transformed, to utilise for their own service.
- Augmented and virtual reality technology will have progressed to the point that it will be just another "wearable".
- AR and VR will be used to deliver personal coaching sessions anywhere, on-demand.
- Home fitness equipment will be affordable and will be filled with sensors that track every aspect of a workout.
- As data, AI, apps, and wearables feature heavily when looking at the next five years, small businesses can set aside an area of their physical space to provide "beta classes" that use data to go beyond the traditional workout.
- 3D printing is rapidly evolving, with even the military and airline industries "printing" spare parts they need to repair equipment.
- In the next five years, the technology will have evolved to allow Home Improvement businesses to provide services to print-on-demand in-store and provide a complete custom design capability.
Local restaurants and cafes
- In the quest to lower costs and provide faster customer service while maintaining healthy profit margins, the next five years will see the rapid adoption of robotics and automation in the preparation of food and beverages within small businesses.
Creatives and makers
- The use of data will also be key to better understand customer and consumer trends about what is popular and worth designing.
- The emergence of "Non-Fungible Tokens" or NFTs will transform the way designs are bought and sold.
- The ability to 3D print almost anything from a computer-generated design will mean that creatives and makers will have even more flexibility than before.
“The pandemic has shifted retail behaviour, and SME’s nimble nature means they are positioned to take advantage of this new paradigm.
“During lockdown, we've all noticed that we have instead been visiting our local small businesses more frequently by not going into an office – this is a massive opportunity for small businesses.
“Many have received overwhelming support since March 2020, but how do they cope with a broadened client base?
"Can they start to serve their regular clients better and attract new ones beyond their local catchment area?
“Keeping on top of the new trends, data and innovation across their sector will be crucial to help small businesses keep ahead of the curve, build stronger relationships with their customers and ensure consumer’s cash is headed their way.”
The study also found 52% of adults made a conscious effort to shop more with small businesses in the last year rather than a big chain.
Nearly four in 10 (37%) have bought products from a butcher while 36% have shopped at an independent bakery.
Others have supported their local corner shop (29%), a greengrocer (25%) and a gift shop (19%).
More than two thirds of adults (67%) also said the pandemic has shown them how important small businesses are to society.
And a generous 41% would even be prepared to pay more for a coffee or lunch if it meant supporting a small business.
The study also found that 30% of those polled via OnePoll have even considered opening their own small business, with 11% more likely to do so now as a result of the pandemic.
Emily Shirley, general manager for Vistaprint UK and Ireland, said: "As we all spent 2020 adapting to the ‘new normal’ we know that many of these habits are here to stay, particularly the consumer preference to shop small.
“As a leading marketing and design partner to small businesses all over the world, Vistaprint is encouraging small businesses to capitalise on this change in consumer behaviour.
"We have no doubt we’ll see a flurry of innovation in the ways Andrew suggests.
“We’re excited to see the new strong performance come out of the change in buyer behaviour, particularly in the wellness and fitness, home improvement, food and beverage and creative sectors.
“We see this next decade as being the rise of the small business, as the rise in new ideas, trends and technology levels the playing field between major brands and SMEs across the UK.”
You can help the economy bounce back since the pandemic by supporting small businesses with these tips we've collected.
This year Amazon is offering a £10 credit for members to use on its annual Prime Day, and you can redeem it by spending £10 on items sold by UK small businesses on the site.
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