Coronavirus pushes British consumers support for local businesses

Empty Oxford Street Retail reopenings Clothing sales
Oxford Street during lockdown April 2020

Community spirit and support for local businesses is flourishing amidst the challenging circumstances brought about by COVID-19, new research has shown.

Findings from Barclaycard show that 41% of British consumers have checked in on vulnerable neighbours to see if they need help with shopping – a figure that increases to 48% for stereotypically reserved Londoners. 

55% of consumers want to increase their support of nearby businesses as a result of the lockdown – primarily by visiting local shops and markets when they can do so again.

Respondents in Edinburgh are the most likely to feel this way, with 65% of residents in the Scottish capital planning to focus more of their spending locally.

Fashion retailers saw a drop of -25.2% in spending, as consumers opted to spend money on essentials and home improvements instead.

Shoppers say that they are planning to use independent local services including hairdressers and nail bars more often when lockdown ends, possibly suggesting a stronger future focus towards personal care.

Esme Harwood, Director at Barclaycard, said: “It’s heartening to see how the nation is coming together to support each other and their communities, with Brits looking out for their neighbours and showing more desire to shop locally.

Retailers are adapting to this demand too, from restaurant suppliers selling straight to customers, to bricks-and-mortar stores rapidly moving online. The appetite from shoppers is clearly there, which bodes well for smaller and independent stores when we see the social distancing measures start to ease.”

TheIndustry.fashion has created a dedicated hub for all updates regarding COVID-19.