Local shops helping communities manage cost of living crisis

New research from the Association of Convenience Stores has shown how consumers feel about their local shops and how important they see them in helping manage their money.

As the nation faces a cost of living crisis, consumers see local shops as part of the solution to manage their money. The UK’s 46,000+ convenience stores have a unique reach into every community, providing a lifeline for thousands of people every day and especially over the last two years during the pandemic.

The research shows that being able to save money on fuel by walking to a local shop instead of driving to a larger store is seen as the most popular benefit of shopping locally. Figures from the 2021 Local Shop Report show that the majority (56%) of customers in local shops get there on foot, with over one in five (21%) visiting their local shop at least five times a week.

Key findings from the research include:

  • 78% of consumers agree that using local shops is better for the environment because they don’t have to travel as far
  • 61% of consumers agree that local shops help people save on multiple trips by providing a range of different services in one place
  • 57% of consumers agree that local shops provide a convenient alternative to delivery apps like Deliveroo or Uber Eats
  • 53% of consumers agree that buying little and often helps them manage food waste

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The cost of living crisis is affecting everyone’s decisions day to day, with consumers looking for simple ways to manage their money. Local shops are well placed to help their communities with the cost of living crisis, not just through their convenient locations, but by helping people manage food waste, save fuel, and providing local access to services like ATM machines. Thousands of retailers also have relationships with food banks and discounted grocery apps like Gander and Too Good to Go, as well as promoting Healthy Start cards for healthy food and milk that is a huge help for young mothers.

“Local shops’ commitment to helping their communities through the cost of living crisis is despite the ongoing cost of trading crisis that they’re currently facing. Retailers are reporting that they are doing everything they can to avoid putting prices up in the face of huge increases in energy costs, supply chain and delivery costs, insurance premiums and employment costs and instead are looking at every inch of their businesses to see where they can make small savings that will allow them to keep trading competitively.”