Christmas shoppers plan to splurge £3.7bn this year with small businesses, up £272m on the year before

A survey of 2,000 adults found more half (53 per cent) believe festive spending with independent makers and designers helps the economy more than shopping with larger established brands or retailers. 

It found shoppers expect to spend ten per cent more on average with small firms online and seven per cent more in store compared to last year.

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That rises dramatically amongst younger adults (aged 18 to 34) who expect to spend almost a quarter (24 per cent) more online with small firms, than inChristmas 2019.

A unique selling point

The research, carried out by small business support network Enterprise Nation as part of its online Christmas market initiative Giftedfound 61 per cent of shoppers feel small brands offer something unique they don’t find with bigger brands. 

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: “This is the best Christmas present that small businesses could wish for after a catastrophic year that’s seen them unable to trade in the normal way over some the most critical shopping periods of the year.

Small businesses have adapted, they have embraced the digital world, some for the first time. They have invested in new technology to serve their customers. That also makes them more accessible for shoppers who are looking to discover unique and different brands over the festive period.

“Our online Christmas market is designed to offer shoppers an opportunity to discover the new British retail pioneers, find up-and-coming fashion designers and makers, health and wellbeing brands, and food and drink producers – and chat to them in their virtual booth at our two-day event. For the sellers, there will be retail talks and support in the lead-up to the event on how to trade well. 

“Spending with small brands goes directly to the maker.  We’re delighted to see so many shoppers prepared to seek out the best of British to support the economy.”

The survey showed 41 per cent of shoppers said they intend to spend as much with small firms this year as possible.

18.4 Billion over Christmas

According to the Office for National Statistics, 52 million people expect to buy presents this year, with an average spend of £366 per person, rising to £391 for the over 55s which means the total spend on Christmas this year is likely to be around £18.4bn. 

Of this individual outlay, an average of £73 is set to be spent with small firms – with 13 per cent of total spend online and seven per cent in store with small retailers, reflecting the fact that shoppers are still nervous about entering smaller physical retail outlets.

Two in five (37 per cent) say they expect to spend more with small retailers this year, rising to 50 per cent of people aged 18 to 34. 

A third (32 per cent) plan to spend more with small businesses in-store compared to almost a third (29 per cent) planning to spend less with large brands and retailers in store.

Tim Rundle-Wood, founder of Twoodle Co, an environmentally-friendly scented candle store in Whitechapel, opened his first ever shop in August and had close it 12 weeks later.

Tim said: “Being a small business means we can change our approach quickly.  Three says after lockdown 2 was announced we organised a click and collect service which launched immediately. Larger firms find it harder to implement that sort of change.  

“It means we can carry on serving our local community and we’ve had incredible support.”

Tim will be one of the 500 retailers to take part in Gifted: the small business online market which takes place on December 4 and 5. To book tickets visit here or head to enterprisenation.com