New research from Nucleus Commercial Finance found that an overwhelming majority (96%) of consumers not only support their local independent businesses, but nearly two-thirds (63%) of those have made a conscious effort to do so since the pandemic started earlier this year.
The research indicates that the pandemic has had a significant impact on the attitudes of consumers, with 71% intending to spend more with their local businesses than they did last year, with 14% saying they would spend significantly more. Londoners (78%) were among those who said they would spend more.
This shift has not gone unnoticed as SMEs have already experienced an upsurge in support from local customers, with 42% reporting that they are feeling better supported by locals since the pandemic started. Over three in five (63%) of larger SMEs also believe consumer attitudes have changed towards shopping locally since the pandemic. However, this is not felt by all SMEs, with 38% saying they have not noticed a difference.
Business size made a difference to consumer support with only a third of sole traders feeling supported by their local community compared to 52% for larger SMEs.
Nonetheless, there are still some consumers who prefer the convenience of shopping online, with 44% saying as such, while almost a quarter (22%) admit they thought the quality was better at major retailers.
Chirag Shah, CEO, Nucleus Commercial Finance, said: “It’s reassuring to see the pandemic has strengthened support for small and medium sized businesses in towns and communities across the country, and that our SMEs are witnessing this first-hand.
“British Businesses have always been resilient throughout, and adapting to change, and this insight shows that the global pandemic is no different. The current climate is likely to present challenging times for many, so it’s vital SMEs explore the many options available to them, finding the finance that fits both their long-term and short-term business needs.”