This Christmas, where we choose to shop matters

By Jeni Mundy, Managing Director UK Ireland Visa

Derick Johnson, Hop of Hackney

Shopping locally can make all the difference to independent businesses this Christmas. To you, it may be just shopping for Christmas dinner ingredients, or gifts for loved ones. But to Britain’s local businesses, the support of their community truly means everything.

As the owner of Hop of Hackney, a family lifestyle boutique in East London, Derick Johnson is passionate about giving back to his community. This year, alongside finding ways to keep trading in lockdown by launching a new website and a click-and-collect service, he has continued to partner with the Hackney Winter Toy Appeal to deliver thousands of new toys to vulnerable families in East London. Just one of the many ways in which Derick gives back to his local area.

Small businesses like Hop of Hackney have had a turbulent year. But, through determination and resilience, many have found new ways to continue serving their customers and supporting their communities. As we approach a festive season like no other, this Christmas it is down to all of us to support our local, independent businesses, truly recognising how much they do for our communities.

We must not ever underestimate the power we have as consumers, especially when it comes to local businesses. Our recent report with the Cebr (Centre for Economics and Business Research), ‘Why Shopping Locally Means More than Just Shopping’, found that over half of shopkeepers (54%) surveyed say the support of their local community means a huge amount and has helped them to keep going despite the difficulties of 2020. Even small acts of support can go a long way in helping our local businesses. Word of mouth recommendations and support on social media mean the most to the business owners we surveyed.

Our research with the Cebr also went one step further, quantifying the economic impact that buying from local businesses has on communities. We found that over a third of the money spent with the local businesses surveyed in the research is retained in the area. So, by diverting our spending to independent businesses near us, we can increase the amount of money that stays within our community. While we currently spend just over a fifth of our money locally, consumers surveyed said they’d be willing to spend almost half of their money with local businesses.

Simply put, if we picked up our Christmas tree from a local florist or chose to purchase our Christmas turkey from the local butcher, the money spent will go much further towards supporting our communities. This is because small, independent businesses are more likely to hire from their local area, have local suppliers and spend their income within the community. At this crucial time, the support we can offer our independent high street heroes could make a big difference in helping our communities rebuild.

We have been truly inspired by the creativity and resourcefulness shown by small shops like Hop of Hackney, even in the toughest of situations. At Visa, we recognise the role that we can play in supporting small businesses – helping them to sell online, accept digital payments and be there for their customers. Because of this, we’ve been working closely with partners and organisations in communities across the UK to provide assistance to local businesses so they can continue to do what they do best.

This Christmas, local businesses such as Hop of Hackney need your support more than ever. So, it’s up to all of us this Christmas to do our bit and shop local, because for them it’s more than just shopping, it’s everything.

To read our report ‘Why Shopping Locally Means More than Just Shopping’ click here.

Tag: Digital commerce