Leeds has been crowned as the UK’s most “loyal to local” city, with residents in the region spending the highest percentage of their income (45%) backing independent businesses last year.
That is according to new data from payments provider Tyl by NatWest, in partnership with YouGov, which surveyed 4,000 adults between 15 and 19 January, ranking cities by percentage of income spent.
It discovered that Britain spent a total of £7.2bn ($9.9bn) supporting local firms in 2020 in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, with grocery stores, corner shops, pharmacies and restaurants making up the most popular types of local businesses Brits spent their money on.
This was followed by local butchers, beauty services, gardening, DIY stores and clothing outlets.
Nottingham, Glasgow, Sheffield and London made up the top five most conscious cities, while Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Belfast rounded off the top 10.
Almost half (47%) of respondents said that they could be doing more to support local businesses in their areas, while a fifth (22%) said they planned to “significantly” increase spending at local independents this year. A further 25% said they will do so ‘“gradually.”
Although 40% of people surveyed said they consciously tried to support small businesses in the pandemic – due to better quality and reducing environmental impact – some 45% said the main reason they spent more at local firms was due to the pandemic restricting movement.
The data also highlighted the impact of average income upon the ability to exclusively support locals, and almost a fifth of those surveyed earning an annual salary of more than £55,000 said they were able to “only” support independents.
This figure compares with 13% of those earning between £25,000 and £35,000 and just 9% of those earning £15,000 and below able to only support local businesses.
Mike Elliff, chief executive of Tyl, said: “The groundswell of locally conscious consumers across the country is truly inspiring, with many actively searching out ways to support innovative local businesses who are increasingly adopting cards, cashless and online solutions as lockdown restrictions continue.
“Small independent businesses are crucial to the national economy and our local lives, so even as we emerge from lockdown in the coming months we hope that shoppers continue to make the conscious choice to, where possible, spend with local independent businesses. Staying loyal to local will be more important than ever as we move forward.”
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