Business development · 4 March 2016

Independent retailers to receive Mother’s Day boost

independent retailers
Demand for small sellers’ quirky and original gifts has grown steadily in recent years

New research by parcel delivery company myHermes has revealed that one in five UK shoppers plan to to turn to independent retailers for their Mother’s day gifts this year – with younger buyers particularly keen on small shops.

The survey of 2,000 adults also shed light on the fact that 55 per cent of people shop with independent retailers at least once a week, while almost ten per cent do so every day.

Respondents in the 18-24 age bracket are the most enthusiastic purchasers of goods from independent stores. Almost 40 per cent of these young shoppers plan to buy a Mother’s Day present from a small shop.

Some 83 per cent of independent retail enthusiasts still  opt for buying in-store over making purchases online – but one-third have ventured into independent ecommerce as well.

Joanne Morley, head of marketing at myHermes, said: “With the rise of websites such as Etsy, Not on the High Street and eBay, it’s clear to see that handmade and personalised items are being favoured over traditional high street offerings.

“Mother’s Day is one of the many occasions where shoppers may want to buy something bespoke to make it a little bit more special, just like their recipient. This greatly plays to the strengths of independent retailers who offer personalisation and unique products.

“We’re encouraged by the results of this research that show not only do we shop with independent retailers more than we did a year ago, but many of us are actively looking to support independent retailers over the retail giants.”

Worldwide, demand for small sellers’ quirky and original gifts has grown steadily in recent years. More than $500m of handmade and craft items are sold every year on eBay, while Etsy boasts almost 1.6m users. Amazon also got in on the act in October 2015 with the launch of a competitor platform, Handmade at Amazon.

However, independent high street shops fared less well last year, with 8,059 closing in the first half of 2015 alone. The Mother’s Day rush seems likely to provide a boon to the owners of such businesses, though many remain concerned about the likely impact of The National Living Wage in April.

For inspiration from the owner of a retail company that is thriving, don’t miss this interview with Saltrock co-founder Angus Thomson.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

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