A poll of small firms in the UK has found that there is widespread evidence that consumers are showing more support for independent shops and businesses as UK trading conditions worsen.
Over half (52%) of small businesses say customers are choosing to shop small to support them during what have become very challenging trading conditions, brought about by cost and supply chain pressures. That's the finding of new research from American Express, released to coincide with its summer Shop Small campaign that helps support the UK's local and independent businesses.
The research, conducted by Opinium on behalf of American Express, found that more than half (55%) of small businesses have reported seeing a rise in new customers purchasing from their business over the past six months.
When it comes to the future, two-thirds (66%) of small business respondents said they are expecting sales to grow over the next year, with over one-third (35%) saying they are optimistic about prospects for their business.
Dan Edelman, vice president and general manager UK Merchant Services at American Express, said: "After the many challenges of the last few years, it's heartening see that customer support for the nation's valuable small businesses remains strong. We're proud to champion these businesses, which is why we're encouraging our cardmembers to show their appreciation by shopping locally with the return of Shop Small this month, available at more locations than ever before."
First launched ten years' ago, Shop Small helps independent businesses attract customers through their doors. Between 20-26 June, American Express cardmembers will receive a £5 statement credit when they spend £15 or more at participating small businesses across the UK. This offer can be used up to five times, once per participating small business location. The total number of participating locations this summer has risen by 19% since December 2021.
American Express is also the founder and principal supporter of Small Business Saturday, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year on 3 December.
Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday UK, said: "Such optimism shown towards small businesses is fantastic to see, especially as we navigate through a challenging time when they need our support more than ever. Choosing to back campaigns such as Shop Small and Small Business Saturday is an excellent way to get behind our nation's independents and give them the recognition they deserve."
Written by Rachel Miller.