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More shoppers are choosing to buy local in 2020, research shows

Almost three-fifths of UK shoppers in 2020 are supporting local businesses more than they used to, according to research.

Figures commissioned by Small Business Saturday UK and American Express have revealed 59% of UK shoppers are choosing local business over corporate.

This research has been released ahead of Small Business Saturday, an event to support local businesses scheduled to take place on 5th December.

Michelle Ovens, Director of Small Business Saturday UK, said: “This crisis has brought home just how much small firms are at the heart of our communities.

“This poll demonstrates the power of small businesses and how important it is for independent retailers to be allowed to reopen safely next month.”

Sophia Procter, 42, runs the start-up Munchy Play, the first-ever kids plate with a built-in track. 

Procter, from Twickenham, said: “We have certainly seen an uplift in sales on all channels in the past few weeks, which I think reflects the seasonal trend for Christmas shopping. 

“I would certainly agree that the general public are looking to support small businesses at this time.” 

Procter’s plates are sold in The People Hive gift shop, Twickenham, and on Amazon. 

She said: “There’s a bit of a misconception that websites like Amazon are just for big brands, but I’m one of many independent businesses that sells their goods on this channel. 

“They have been extremely supportive to us, so I still encourage shoppers to go there – you can shop small and on Amazon!”

The global pandemic has hit smaller local businesses hard in 2020, which is why it’s important to many that shoppers choose them over bigger companies.

Colleen Wong, 44, is founder of My Gator watch, a kids GPS Watch created to allow for parents and their children to stay in contact minus the distractions of a smartphone.

The Teddington resident has been an ambassador for Small Business Saturday since 2019.

MORE LOVE FOR LOCAL: Wong agreed a lot more people are buying local this year

The BBC reported a 50% increase in businesses launching in June 2020, compared with June last year. 

Wong said: “A lot of us have no choice but to start our own businesses, perhaps because of furlough, or because they need change, or can’t commute anymore.” 

She also expressed the high standard of care and value from local business that goes into providing customers with products. 

Wong said: “If that small business is around the corner, they might drive to you at 9pm just to give you a product. 

“I know that because I’ve done that – I’ve driven a watch to someone in central London on Christmas Eve. 

“We will always go out of our way – it’s the care factor that big companies don’t have.” 

Wong, who has also been named one of the Small Business Saturday UK Heroes, considered that constructive feedback from consumers was key in helping local businesses thrive. 

She said: “Consumers need to stop this behaviour of destructive feedback. 

“Small businesses will always try to right wrongs or give refunds – they want to survive and grow.”

This year’s Small Business Saturday UK campaign will be an online roadshow, featuring ‘virtual visits’ to over 33 towns and cities across the UK.

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