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More Consumers Are Choosing to Shop Small Business in the UK

Consumers are beginning to acknowledge that small businesses are a vital part of the nation’s economy according to information released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and are choosing to shop at small businesses.

Britain’s smaller stores are leading the way when it comes to building growth in the retail sector. Small retailers recorded an 8.1% rise in sales in December compared with a 2.6% rise at large high-street businesses.

However, the ONS is not alone in stating that things seem to be getting better for small shopkeepers. The rate of shop vacancies on British high streets dropped below 14% in December for the first time in three years, according to the Local Data Company (LDC). 

These results show that consumers are feeling more and more connected with their local stores whether they sell fashion clothing, provide accounting software or cut hair. They realise that the money they are spending at the corner store has a much greater impact on the community than cash spent at a national store.

Consumers have moved towards independent shops that celebrate their community’s uniqueness and are more likely to respond to changing wants and needs in the community. They are also appreciating the more personalised service, as small business owners know their own product inside out.

Some supermarket groups are opening small local food shops because of an apparent trend towards consumers shopping little and often and close to home. This is not good news for independent food retailers who have already started to see an impact on their business.

The ONS figures show that the small retailers seeing the most growth are those businesses that are online. This could partly be because of the bad weather which opens the door for smaller firms to boost online sales, but businesses are consistently seeing that customer engagement is vital. At the moment, customers walking through the doors of larger shops are unknown to them. More engagement will be vital to these bigger retailers as time goes on.

Overall, this news is very positive for the UK economy and small business owners are looking forward to what 2014 will bring.

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