Lifestyle

Small businesses to earn more than £8 billion this Christmas as shoppers go local

SMALL businesses are set to receive more than £8 billion this Christmas – as more shoppers plan to buy gifts, food and decorations from independents over big stores.  

A study of 2,000 adults who celebrate the festive season found 64% plan to do some of their shopping via small enterprises, each spending an average of £280.53. 

Gifts (61%), cards (47%) and sweet foods (39%) are the items most likely to be bought.

A third also plan to spend more money with small businesses this year compared to last Christmas. 

And specific presents most likely to be purchased from smaller companies included chocolate, personalised items and candles. 

More than a third admitted they shop with small businesses more during the Christmas holiday than the rest of the year and 45% believe it’s the most important time to support them.

The research, commissioned by Funding Circle, the UK’s largest SME loan platform, also found consumers estimate almost a third of their festive shopping will be done via small businesses.  

Reasons for doing so included wanting to support a local company (54%), find unique products (44%) and help the economy (36%). 

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More than three quarters are most likely to shop small in-store, while 47% will opt for websites and 40% will seek out gifts at market stalls. 

A further 87% feel it’s important to support small businesses in general. 

Lisa Jacobs, CEO Designate of Funding Circle, said: “It is really heartening to see so many people supporting small businesses over the festive period. 

“Purchasing gifts from a small business feels more personal and unique, while also helping small business, the community and the UK economy to grow.”

The study also found that 58% would also like to receive gifts which have been bought via small businesses.

This makes them feel like they have played a part in supporting independent brands, while the present will be seen as more thoughtful and special. 

A further 56% are even happy to spend an average of 28% more on a product from a smaller store than they would at a big chain.

When shopping with small businesses, people most want to find locally made (47%), unique (46%) and high quality (44%) items. 

Similarly, 34% of those polled via OnePoll prefer shopping from sole traders in general, compared to just 19% who opt for big brands, with one of the reasons being they find more unique products. 

Other reasons for preferring to buy from small businesses are better customer service, supporting someone’s passion or hobby, and feeling like they’re doing their bit for the environment. 

One business and Funding Circle customer that realises the importance of the public’s support during Christmas is In The Welsh Wind Distillery, owned by couple Alex Jungmayr, 40 and Ellen Wakelam, 38.  

The distillery in Tanygroes – a hamlet north of Cardigan, Ceredigion, Wales – took off after being founded in 2018, but Covid forced them to temporarily put their expansion plans on hold.  

But since restrictions lifted they have used their Funding Circle loan to help them hire 15 people and grow their ‘grain to glass’ ethos – only using grain grown within 10 miles to make their whisky. 

Alex and Ellen said: “We are committed to providing training, jobs and opening up opportunities in the community where we are based, so support at Christmas – when people have more money to spend – is absolutely invaluable as it helps us realise those ambitions, which benefits everyone. 

“People have got so used to shopping online as a result of the pandemic, many have forgotten that when you shop face to face from a small business, you’re not just buying into a top-quality product made with care and pride, you’re buying into a story that usually links to the community you’re living in.  

“It’s those details that also make whatever you have bought – whether it’s a bottle of gin or something else – a real talking point and something to treasure.”

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