New research has found that coronavirus lockdowns have boosted the nation's loyalty to small businesses, with 59% of Brits saying they now support local businesses more than previously.
The poll of 1,000 UK shoppers, commissioned by American Express and Small Business Saturday UK, highlights the important role small firms have played in supporting their communities through lockdown, with many pivoting to offer people new products and services.
Small Business Saturday is a key event in the calendar for UK small businesses; it encourages consumers to "shop local" to support their communities. This year's event is set to take place on Saturday 5 December; it will come just days after the end of the second lockdown on 2 December - as long as it is not extended.
"This crisis has brought home just how much small firms are at the heart of our communities," said Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday.
"They have been there for customers and shown strength, determination and agility in coping. It's no wonder that support for Britain's small businesses is rocketing. It's vital we continue to support small businesses as this crisis continues, which is why we are determined to make this year's campaign the most impactful ever."
The Small Business Saturday campaign is also highlighting the ingenuity of small firms across the UK. The Tom Foolery Coffee Company in Shoreham-by-Sea, owned by Bob and Vanessa McCulloch (pictured), came up with a new retail product line during the first lockdown, as well as building a new takeaway counter.
"COVID-19 has been tough for our business, but support from our community has been amazing. People have been very appreciative of the changes we have made and got behind us," said Vanessa McCulloch.
Now in its eighth year in the UK, Small Business Saturday has grown significantly each year with an estimated £800m spent in small businesses across the UK on the day last year, with a record turnout of 17.6 million people choosing to shop local that day alone.
Small Business Saturday was originally founded by American Express in the US in 2010. "Our local communities are richer and more vibrant for the presence of these independents and people across the UK are behind them like never before," said Dan Edelman, general manager UK, Global Merchant and Network Services at American Express.
"It's so important that we all continue to support our favourite local small businesses and we're proud to play our part as principal supporter of Small Business Saturday and through our own Shop Small campaign."
In the run-up to Small Business Saturday UK, the campaign will kick off with an online tour in November, virtually visiting more than 33 towns and cities across the UK.
Written by Rachel Miller.