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With non-essential independent retailers reopening their doors to the public, 66% of willing shoppers plan to purchase festive gifts for loved ones from local and family-run firms, according to a recent survey from the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) and Starling Bank.

With more than 400,000 independent stores located nationwide, small business owners could be set for a combined £3.5bn boost to the coffers.

The average shopper spends £119 on Christmas gifts and this latest survey reveals multiple reasons why buying local appeals to consumers during this festive season.

Over two-in-five (43%) want to support independent firms and their local communities. Meanwhile 42% are keen to experience an original selection of presents for their family and friends. A further 25% feel that buying local is a more convenient option for them in the current climate.

Local economies are proving particularly important to younger shoppers this Christmas, with 75% of all 18-to-34-year-olds surveyed confirming their intent to buy from local independents.

The independent products most in-demand from consumers are food and drink, with original local produce catching the eye of 43% of shoppers. That’s followed by homeware (29%), clothing (27%) and jewellery (26%).

Independent retailers are having to be agile to provide their services online too. More than half (55%) of shoppers will be purchasing from local stores online, with 47% taking advantage of home delivery services to avoid non-essential journeys.

Andrew Goodacre, Chief Executive of the BIRA, commended the innovative local retailers that have adapted their business models to maximise the commercial opportunities online this Christmas.

“This research shows the importance of independent retail to the communities throughout the UK,” said Mr Goodacre. “For most of the year, we have seen ‘indies’ change their business model and increase their digital footprint. This will continue without forgetting about the local opportunity.”

Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank, the digital challenger bank which conducted this survey in partnership with the BIRA, believes independent retailers should be commended for their “resilience” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Local businesses are the backbone of our economy and our communities,” said Boden.

“Independent retailers have had to show huge amounts of resilience weathering the storm this year and it’s been impressive to see how so many have quickly adapted, whether that be moving online or adjusting their business model.”

BIRA represents thousands of independent retailers across the country. We are proud to be a recommended service partner to all BIRA members, who can access our tax and accountancy services at a discounted rate.

To arrange a free initial consultation on your tax and bookkeeping affairs, get in touch with us today by calling 0203 325 9825 or using our simple online enquiry form.

Last updated: 2nd December 2020

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