2017 is the year of the small business

Eight out of 10 British consumers prefer independent businesses over larger stores, leading to a potential year of small business, according to Liberis. 

According to a survey conducted by the alternative finance provider, 65 per cent of UK shoppers were aware that using a smaller provider can be more expensive, but responses suggested that the benefits of doing so outweighed the increased costs as 48 per cent still wanted to boost the local economy and support their community.

The biggest factors for the appeal of small busineses are convenience and leisure, with 58 per cent of respondents saying that they use a grocery and convenience store the most, with the older generation (55 – 64 year olds) selecting this as their most used type of independent store. Clothing, jewellery, books, music and gift retailers were the second most utilised (45 per cent), followed by cafes, bars, pubs and eateries (44 per cent). Almost 50 per cent of those polled said that they shop small to support independent establishments, indicating that this plays an important role in purchasing decisions.

Among the other popular reasons for the popularity of independent and smaller businesses is a focus on friendly and personal service. 51 per cent of people polled said there is a ‘noticeable difference’ between the quality of customer service offered in small businesses compared to larger stores. One respondent in particular said that “small stores seem more genuine and go out their way to help you”, with another saying that at “smaller stores the service is more personal”.

However, it’s not all positive for smaller retailers, with limited product ranges being the number one drawback of a small business, with 50 per cent of people identifying this as a primary concern. In fact, price was stated as the main reason people prefer to shop at larger businessses.

A spokesperson for Liberis said: "A more varied marketplace for consumers is dependent on the UK’s small business sector, having another major chain retailer doesn’t increase choice, in fact it reduces the choice. Liberis support local highstreets, domestic hospitality, entrepreneurs and small scale industries here in the UK and in turn they all contribute significantly to the overall economy. Our findings show that consumers share the importance of growing this sector and the value that it brings everyone.”

The firm has put together a neat visual representation of the facts and figures from the study which you can look at below. 

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