Saturday, November 29, 2014

After Black Friday it’s ….
– Small Business Saturday

I suppose you've all seen the worshippers at the altar of consumerism via the BBC?

So here’s the antidote – Small Business Saturday - 6th December.

The Value of Shopping Small
  • Community: £537m added value services in the community
  • Social: People more sociable if they live near small shops
  • Economic: 60p in every £1 spent by independent businesses goes back into the local economy
Ahead of this year's Small Business Saturday on 6th December, new research released on 27th November quantifies, for the first time, the social and community value of shopping in small independent shops over and above the inherent economic benefits.

The research reveals that small shops across the country are providing £537million worth of added-value services and going above and beyond for their customers and local communities. This equates to £3,058 worth of time donated each year by the average small shop.

The most common examples cited were checking in on elderly and vulnerable neighbours, lending a friendly ear or giving advice on personal matters, personally delivering products free of charge and creating or sourcing bespoke items. With communities served by a greater proportion of independent small shops benefitting twice as much on average - £6,998 worth of added value services provided annually per shop vs. £2,956 in comparable areas with fewer independents.

Social Value In Shopping Small

Areas with a higher proportion of independent, small shops were also found to increase social interactions between shoppers, with people in these areas twice as likely to say "hello" to people on their high street (163 times a year vs. 96). Similarly, shoppers on independent high streets are twice as likely to have a conversation with someone they do not know, having 56 conversations a year (vs. 28).

A further 13 per cent of residents from areas with a higher proportion of small businesses consider local shopkeepers their friends (vs. three per cent in other areas) and a quarter (25 per cent) know them by their first name. This increased familiarity translates into greater feelings of social belonging, with 64 per cent of these shoppers describing their local high street as the ‘heart of their community' (vs. 17 per cent in other areas).

According to the findings, people who live near small shops are 16 per cent more positive than those whose high street is less well represented with independents. In addition, living in an area that ‘feels friendly' (59 per cent) and ‘where there are familiar faces in the local area' (45 per cent) are considered amongst the most important in terms of generating a sense of wellbeing in a local community.

Kate Hardcastle, retail expert and supporter of Small Business Saturday, said: "We've long known that small businesses make a big contribution to their local economies. What this research gives us for the first time is a sense of the extent to which independent small shops are investing in their local communities. They are not just selling fantastic goods and services, they also play an integral and broader role supporting local people and showing real community spirit."

The research also confirms the positive economic impact small shops have on their local community. With the average shop questioned spending an estimated £247,500 per year on various aspects of running its business, 60 per cent of this spending is made locally, meaning that the average small shop re-circulated £148,500 back into their local economy last year alone.

Rafa Marquez said, "We have long history of working with small independent retailers and we recognise the role they play in their local communities. This research shines a spotlight on those personal, added value services that take the notion of customer service to another level. We hope the rest of the country joins us in showing appreciation for these heroes of our high street by shopping small this Small Business Saturday."


  1. The appalling greed displayed on Black Friday made me ashamed to be part of the human race. Sick - just sick.

  2. We mustn't castigate the people fighting for reduced price goods on Black Friday. They have been brainwashed by big corporations and the millions spent on advertising to believe that they are not worthwhile human beings unless they own consumer goods such as wide screen TVs and the latest iPad. Pressure on ordinary people (and those depicted in the news stories were definitely not the elite) to purchase expensive items in order to prove their worth, or show how much they love their children, has increased beyond measure in the last 30 years.

    We should turn our anger against large retailers who actively foster this kind of buying frenzy in order to boost their profits at a time of year when people are desperately aware of the imminence of Christmas and keen to prove themselves to their families by the purchase of unrealistically expensive gifts..

    As far as small businesses are concerned, I am in total agreement. My daughter and I run a small business and many of our customers consider us to be their friends. They tell us their troubles, share their triumphs and go away feeling better. Often two ladies totally unknown to each other before they came into the shop will help each other decide on a garment - we can just stand back and they do the selling for us.

    Unfortunately, events such as Black Friday make it ever harder for small businesses to compete. We just don't have the capacity to slash prices and make up for it by volume of sales. We are also adversely affected by the recent practice of having virtually all-year-round sales.

    However, the main reason for the disappearance of small businesses from the High Street is Sunday trading. I read recently that 15% of the money spent in shops is spent on Sundays. Most small businesses, usually run by one or two people, cannot operate 7 days a week (we can't) and 15% can easily make the difference between viability and bankruptcy. If you want more independent shops on the High Street, campaign for the return to the Sunday Trading laws of the 1950's.

  3. well i will defo be going down barkingside high street to do some xmas shopping ......oh wait a minute aint no decent shops left(or very few)...written by a not so far past me 30's white british redbridge resident for over 30 years that does not think that all jewish people pave over their driveways because i actually live here.....(in Redbridge)