Two thirds (66%) of shoppers in the UK are now more likely to shop in their local communities than they were a year ago, according to new research released by Mastercard.
The role of small businesses within the national economy has been severely disrupted by the public health crisis this year, but with Mastercard committing $250 million globally to helping local businesses bounce back, and trust in local shops at an all time high, small businesses will be able to thrive again.
In Europe Mastercard has introduced a range of services including the Business Unusual platform and the Mastercard Trade Solution – both of which provide services beyond traditional banking and help small businesses save money and time.
The research reveals that the most popular reason for the increased love for shopping local is to help local communities bounce back (49%). Over a quarter (27%) say they are shopping locally to reestablish or form new relationships with local shopkeepers and independent stores and one in five (20%) say their reason for shopping local is that they trust recommendations from people in the community.
Two thirds (65%) of people in the UK say they have a new found appreciation of their communities and local shops since the onset of Covid-19, with convenience (50%), queues for bigger supermarkets (40%) and limits on travel (31%) the top three reasons for people rediscovering shops on their doorstep.
Almost three in five people (59%) say they prefer to buy from someone they know and 60 per cent trust recommendations made by local shopkeepers.
Community values have also soared since lockdown, with more than half (51%) more likely to say hello to their neighbours than they were one year ago. One in five (20%) have a spare key for their next-door neighbour, 59% say they take online deliveries for them and 14% say they are in a neighbourhood WhatsApp group.
Janne Karppinen, head of retail, UK & Ireland at Mastercard, said: “The way we shop has changed, and as well as an increase in online and contactless spending, we have seen a trend of people opting to shop locally. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and many are rediscovering the huge number of great, varied and unique shops in their local communities and neighbourhoods.
“It is clear that local retailers have a major role to play in providing goods and services, but they also play an integral and broader role supporting local people and fostering community spirit. The bounce back of the economy starts on our doorstep and local shops and communities play an enormous role in aiding the recovery and return to growth.”
The research also revealed that the local post offices, pubs, schools, parks and corner shops are the top five staples of a modern community.
Top 10 staples of a local community
1. Post Office
5. Corner shop