More Britons shopping with independent retailers

One in five Brits shop with independent retailers more than they did one year ago, rising to almost one in three for the 18 to 24-year-old age group, finds research.

The research, conducted by The Leadership Factor on behalf of myHermes, polled 2,000 adults from across the UK to build a picture of shopping habits and attitudes towards independent retailers.

Currently, 55 per cent of people shop with independent retailers once a week or more frequently, with 8 per cent shopping with independent retailers every day.

One in nine (13 per cent) adults now claim to actively seek to shop with independent retailers, with Londoners most likely to seek out independents at 19 per cent.

In-store remains the most popular way to shop with independent retailers (83 per cent), but the proportion of Brits shopping with independent retailers online is significant (33 per cent), partly thanks to the popularity of online marketplaces like eBay, Not On The High Street and Etsy.

The 25 to 34-year-old age group is most likely to shop online (49 per cent), followed by 18 to 24-year-olds (41 per cent), suggesting this shift towards shopping online with independent retailers will continue.

The research also explores factors that would encourage people to shop with independent retailers. Almost half (48 per cent) say proximity to where they live would encourage them to shop with an independent retailer, placing it top of the list.

Recommendations from friends and family come second with 40 per cent, suggesting independent retailers should place a strong focus on collecting and publicising reviews.

Practical and security factors, such as trusted payment options (33 per cent), a well-functioning website (29 per cent) and trusted delivery options (29 per cent) also rank highly on the list.

In general, views towards independent retailers are positive, with 38 per cent agreeing with the statement ‘independent retailers offer better customer service’, and 23 per cent agreeing that ‘independent retailers offer better quality’.

Just over one in five (22 per cent) also say that the internet makes it easier to shop with independent retailers.

Cities whose residents shop with independent retailers once a week or more frequently include Birmingham (61 per cent), Newcastle (58 per cent) and London (57 per cent).

Joanne Morley, head of marketing at myHermes says that independent retailers are facing their toughest battle from online retailers such as Amazon, who are changing Britain’s high streets.

‘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.

‘This research helps independent business owners understand what they need to do to grow in an increasingly competitive marketplace and attract new customers, both online and offline.’

Further reading on independent shops

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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