Go local for your Christmas gift shopping this year
We’re all tired of hearing about it, but the pandemic really has turned 2020 upside down. For many, the past year has either helped us adopt new habits and productivity into our everyday lives, or we’ve swapped our coats and work bags for a cosy dressing gown and a cuppa. Either way, it’s not too late to adopt good habits to take into 2021, and there’s one that we think is extremely important - especially with Christmas just around the corner!
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the lifeblood of the British economy, accounting for around 99.9% of our business population. What’s incredible is that they employ over 16.8 million people in the UK, with an estimated turnover of £2.3 trillion according to FSB (2020). These businesses are all around us, with local owners relying on their surrounding communities for everyday custom and support.
However, it’s no secret that the last decade has brought about monumental challenges for the British high street. All of us are guilty of falling for the convenience of online retailers. International e-commerce sites such as Amazon have been dominating the market, offering competitive rates and purchases to be delivered right outside your door – convenient, but not helpful for our local stores. With that being said, because 2020 has been such a trying year for our economy, it’s time that we make a change towards these habits and hold ourselves more accountable for supporting our local businesses.
I’m sure you’ve seen and heard of ‘Shop Local’ and ‘Buy Local’ across news headlines and local council campaigns? Well, it’s time to pay more attention to these appeals! It’s easy to say that large retailers offer bigger sales and more competitive prices, but independent retailers often reward regular customers and provide great deals that can’t be found in major outlets – meaning people save money as they spend.
Where we choose to shop really does make a massive difference to local businesses, almost half of small business owners say that if everyone in their local community just spent an extra £5 extra per week with small businesses, it would help them to keep open in the long-run.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many of have us have already started to visit local businesses in our area, as opposed to travelling to large cities and/or retail parks for our shopping. Michelle Ovens, Director of Small Business Saturday UK and Founder of Small Business Britain said, “small businesses are the beating hear of communities and town centres up and down the country, and they will be at the centre of the recovery”.
Christmas Markets are a great way to buy unique handmade items from micro-businesses and independent companies, and what better way to enjoy your shopping than to have a warm cup of mulled wine!
So, thinking of shopping locally this Christmas? Perhaps ‘Shop Local’ can even be your 2021 New Year’s Resolution. Not only will you be helping businesses in your community, but your friends and family will also have more meaningful gifts as opposed to the items we typically see being repeated in large retailers.