Six in ten SMEs say their customers spend more with them online than they would in-person.
The research from TalkTalk Business also reveals that 65 per cent of SMEs say their customers have started their festive shopping early. A huge 70 per cent of SMEs say that their regular customers are finishing up their Christmas shopping with them online rather finishing it up in-person.
As if you didn’t have enough of a reason to strengthen your online offering, figures from Mortar Research show that:
- Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of consumers say all of their Christmas shopping with small businesses will be done online
- More than a third (38 per cent) of shoppers will avoid busy high streets this Christmas as they can’t social distance
- 37 per cent are steering clear of large crowds prior to seeing family
A move to online shopping means that small businesses are confident they can withstand challenges that could arise over the winter. Even if Covid-19 restrictions were introduced over the colder months, more than two thirds of businesses say that they’re not worried. Their optimism is such that over half (58 per cent) of SMEs are expecting 2021 to be their strongest Christmas on record. Over half reckon that their next year will be their most profitable.
A substantial 56 per cent say they are now in a better position to grow than pre-pandemic, while the same number (56 per cent) said the pandemic forced them to make changes to their business they should have made earlier.
The majority (81 per cent) of businesses say they have invested in the online side of their business since the pandemic started. SMEs say that the digital acceleration required over the pandemic has been key to a profitable finish of 2021. Of those businesses, 60 per cent added new digital or online payment options, while 55 per cent increased their online or digital marketing and 31 per cent started offering home delivery or takeaway options for their products.
In 2020, internet usage among independent retailers surged by 52 per cent over the festive period.