Small businesses are set to receive more than £8bn this Christmas – as more shoppers plan to buy from independents over big stores

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

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

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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 per cent 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.

Supporting local and finding unique products

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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

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

A further 87 per cent 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.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“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 per cent 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 per cent are even happy to spend an average of 28 per cent more on a product from a smaller store than they would at a big chain.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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

Similarly, 34 per cent of those polled via OnePoll prefer shopping from sole traders in general, compared to just 19 per cent 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.

Small businesses need the public's support

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.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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.”

Related topics: