8 out of 10 British Consumers Prefer Independent Businesses over Larger Stores

A survey has revealed that 2017 is the Year of the Small Business!

 

Boosting the local economy and supporting the local community are reasons why people use a smaller business:

  • 77% of over 200 people surveyed pledged to shop at or use small businesses more than they did in 2016
  • 41% of consumers already shop weekly at smaller businesses
  • 48% shop small to boost the local economy and support the community

A recent survey by Liberis, a UK alternative finance provider, reveals that 8 out of 10 consumers plan to use independent businesses in preference to larger businesses this year. The survey was commissioned by Liberis to discover current consumer attitudes towards small businesses. The data further revealed that 65% were aware that using a smaller provider can be more expensive, but responses suggested that the benefits of doing so outweighed the increased costs as 48% still wanted to boost the local economy and support their community.

 

Convenience and leisure are the main reasons why consumers choose a small business over a larger retailer. 58% of respondents said they use a grocery and convenience store the most, with the older generation, 55 – 64 year olds, selecting this as their most used type of independent store.

 

Clothing, jewellery, books, music and gift retailers were the second most utilised businesses at 45%, followed by cafes, bars, pubs and eateries at 44%, suggesting that consumers spend their disposable income at smaller, leisure focused establishments.

 

The primary reason for shopping small was due to convenience, suggesting that locality is still advantageous for many purchases. However, almost 50% of those polled said that they shop small to support independent establishments, indicating that this plays an important role in purchasing decisions.

 

The friendly and personalised service makes ‘small’ successful; 51% of those polled said there is a noticeable difference between the quality of customer service offered in small businesses compared to larger stores. One respondent said “small stores seem more genuine and go out their way to help you” and another said at “smaller stores the service is more personal”,  suggesting that in order to be competitive against bigger brands, your business must continue to provide a memorable and tailored customer service.

 

Limited product selection and price are a challenge for small businesses. 50% of consumers said that a ‘limited product range’ selection is the number one drawback to using a small business. Almost half (48%) said that smaller stores tend to be more expensive, which was their second highest concern.

 

Very few people stated brand penetration (e.g. online offering, household name and peer recommendations) as an influential factor in their decision to support a small business, where historically, being a household name has gone in a larger brand’s favour. However, when asked why consumers shop at larger stores, price was the number reason at 47%. It was the 65+ age bracket that chose price as their main reason to shop at bigger businesses, which indicates that this age group keep tighter control over their finances than other age groups.

 

“A more varied marketplace for consumers is dependent on the UK’s small business sector, having another major chain retailer doesn’t increase choice, in fact it reduces the choice. Liberis support local highstreets, domestic hospitality, entrepreneurs and small scale industries here in the UK and in turn they all contribute significantly to the overall economy. Our findings show that consumers share the importance of growing this sector and the value that it brings everyone.”

 

Traditional lending simply doesn’t reflect the nature of small businesses. So, on a mission to do things differently, and to do things better – Liberis was the first company in the UK to offer a Business Cash Advance. This has completely changed the way lending works for thousands of their customers, providing access to over £140 million of funding since 2007.

 

It’s a fairer and more flexible way to borrow, allowing SMEs to repay by Liberis taking a small percentage of their credit/debit card transactions until repaid. Being different to banks, Liberis have no arrangement or penalty fees and the cost never changes. So, not only does this keep their payments in line with their cash flow, it also frees them from fixed monthly.

Backed by the UK Government owned, British Business Bank, customers have the added reassurance of dealing with a lender they can trust. This shows by the fact that 9/10 customers would recommend using Liberis and customer feedback is 99% positive!

 

Survey Methodology

Liberis asked over 200 UK consumers about their attitude towards small businesses. Respondents were asked ten questions about which types of small business they use, why they shop at smaller businesses and what they think of the service and products provided. Liberis then analysed the results.