British shoppers increase spend on Small Business Saturday

Friday 11 December 2015

Although independent retailers are often overshadowed by larger companies, new analysis suggests that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are clawing back some of the market.

Small Business Saturday, which is now in its third year, has proven to be more successful this year than ever before, encouraging consumers to spend their money and support local, smaller businesses rather than heading straight for major retailers.

More than five million independent stores are thought to have benefited from the initiative, which took place on December 5th this year.

According to the Small Business Saturday research, 48 per cent of the people who shopped at a small business on the day spent more than they would usually; 34 per cent said they increased spending by at least a quarter.

In total, British shoppers spent around £623 million on Small Business Saturday, which is nearly a quarter more (24 per cent) than what was generated during last year's scheme. This means an additional £119 million has been spent with independent retailers on the dedicated day than in 2014.

The initiative is also helping build awareness about the importance of supporting local businesses, with #SmallBusinessSaturday trending on Twitter on December 5th, according to American Express, which helped launch the event in the US.

According to the Small Business Saturday research, nearly half of those who shopped at an independent retailer (48 per cent) spent more than they would normally. In addition, more than a third (34 per cent) said they increased the amount they spent by at least a quarter.

This year's event is thought to have been the biggest so far, with American Express even buying prime time TV slots to advertise and push the event.

Figures suggest that initiatives like these are helping to encourage more people to set up their own small business or go freelance. 

Statistics from the Federation of Small Business (FSB) indicate that choosing to start their own independent retailer is becoming a more favourable option for people all over the UK. 

At the start of 2015, there were a record 5.4 million private sector businesses, with 99.3 per cent of these being small businesses and SMEs accounting for 99.9 per cent.

Overall, 15.6 million people are now employed by an SME, which is 60 per cent of all private sector employment. This accounted for an annual turnover of £1.8 trillion for small and medium-sized businesses - nearly half (47 per cent) of all private sector turnover in the UK.

By Victoria McDonnell

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