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The campaign smashed the £1 billion spending barrier for the first time since its launch eight years ago.

According to data from American Express, some 15.4 million shoppers bought goods and services from local businesses during the first Saturday since the end of the second lockdown.

Interestingly, spending reached the £1.1 billion mark despite 2.2 million fewer consumers hitting the streets compared with last year’s campaign.

The average spend per person soared from £45.42 in 2019 to an impressive £70.74 this year. Almost half (48%) of shoppers surveyed during Small Business Saturday 2020 confirmed it was a deliberate decision to buy local that day and support their regional economies after a difficult year.

Michelle Ovens, Director of Small Business Saturday, said: “It is fantastic to see such phenomenal, record-breaking support for small businesses, in one of the toughest years many have ever experienced.

“Small Business Saturday has been running for eight years, but this year’s campaign has been our most vital.

“We are delighted that it’s generated such a massive boost for small businesses, at a time they are facing huge challenges with the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

“I have no doubt that this strong support for small businesses has been driven by recognition of the critical role they played in our communities during lockdown.

“So many firms worked hard to pivot and adapt their businesses during this national emergency, often stepping in to offer useful services, vital products, as well as being a source of practical support and kindness, particularly for NHS and frontline workers.”

Given the changing buying intent of consumers towards them, local businesses have also sought to make it easier for shoppers to browse and pay for their products.

According to a survey from the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), 55% of shoppers will be buying goods and services from local firms online this Christmas, with more independents investing in e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Date published 11 Dec 2020

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