Woman shopping

Four in five shoppers have pledged to continue supporting small, independent businesses as non-essential retailers continue to reopen after turning their backs on larger chains.

In a study of 2,000 adults in the UK by Funding Circle, shoppers said they had turned their back on large chains during the Covid-19 pandemic and have no plans to go back.

A third of shoppers have switched to their local bakery, while another 20% have purchased crafts or books online from independent retailers. Independent greengrocer, coffee shops and florists have also proved popular.

More than half (54%) said they have supported small businesses more than ever over the past three months, with 90% planning to continue doing so more often in the future. Another 54% said they had discovered new independent businesses as a result.

Nearly two thirds of those surveyed said lockdown has made them realise how important local, independent businesses are to society, and 76% would like to see more of them in their local area.

Lisa Jacobs, UK managing director at Funding Circle, said: "It's been fantastic to see how communities have come together to support small businesses at a time when they need it most.

"From choosing to buy a loaf of bread at your local bakery to visiting and independent florist for fresh flowers - these small actions make a big difference to small businesses.

"This shift in the way people shop will only be positive for the recovery of small businesses over this coming period and it's promising to see that this trend is likely to continue into the future."

Local quality

The research also found that 46% are encouraged to buy from small businesses because of the unique nature of their products, while 42% were impressed by the high quality.

Half said they simply liked knowing they were supporting their local community, and more than a third said they enjoyed the personal aspect, such as getting to know the staff or business owner.

As a result, the study found that shopping with independent businesses makes people feel positive (40%), supportive (50%) and happy (28%).