Business development · 12 January 2016

Independent retailers increasingly attractive to UK shoppers

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One in five people shop with independent retailers more than they did a year ago

British shoppers increasingly prefer buying from independent retailers rather than large chains, with the younger generation the most likely to spend money with such outlets.

Indicating a dramatic shift in UK consumers’ shopping habits, one in five people shop with independent retailers more than they did a year ago, rising to 30 per cent of 18 to 24-year olds.

Research conducted by The Leadership Factor on behalf of delivery firm myHermes also discovered some of the factors encouraging more people to shop independently.

Proximity to people’s homes was found to be the strongest influencer, with 48 per cent of respondents placing it top of their list of factors.

Throughout the country as a whole, Londoners are most likely to buy from independent retailers, with 19 per cent of the capital’s residents reporting that they actively seek independent shops as opposed to 13 per cent of adults elsewhere in the UK.

However, the research demonstrated that London is not the city in which shoppers purchased from independent stores most frequently. Birmingham and Newcastle residents shop in independent retailers more than those in the capital.

In each city, 61 per cent and 58 per cent of people respectively shop in independent stores once a week or more, dropping to 57 per cent of Londoners.

Encouraged by signs that UK shoppers are beginning to recognise threats posed to small independent retailers, head of marketing at myHermes, Joanne Morley, said: “This research helps independent owners understand what they need to do to grow in an increasingly competitive marketplace and attract new customers.”

“Many of us are actively looking to support independent retailers, which are facing a tough battle from online retailers such as Amazon that are changing Britain’s high streets.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

Business development