15th June 2020: As non-essential shops begin to reopen their doors, over half (56%) of small business owners surveyed are concerned they will not be able to bounce back from the impact of COVID-19, according to a new survey released by Visa today.
Consumers are also having similar worries. Seven in 10 (73%) surveyed worried about small businesses reopening. One in two shoppers (54%) will only return to bricks & mortar stores if strict social distancing is in place, while nearly one in five (18%) will not return until a vaccine is developed.
To help small business owners adapt to the new landscape, Visa has launched a number of initiatives with partners. This includes working with platforms like Deliveroo, DownYourHighStreet.com, eBay, ShopAppy.com and Shopify to help local shops build an online presence; and partnering with providers like iZettle and SafeCharge to enable sellers to accept digital payments on and offline.
Jeni Mundy, Managing Director, UK and Ireland at Visa comments: “Even in the face of extraordinary challenges, British businesses are gearing up for recovery by finding new ways to serve their consumers. However, we know that many lack the time and resource to rebuild at this critical time so Visa is enlisting the help of its partners to offer small firms the tools, advice and expertise so they can adapt their business ready for a new normal. We’re also calling on consumers to shop local. By supporting small businesses- both on and offline – all of us can do our bit to help our communities recover and get back to their best.”
The ‘Adapt for Recovery: Helping small businesses build for the future’survey, released today by Visa, reveals three key trends in consumer and small business behaviour that will define community recovery across the UK. The key trends include:
- 1.SME Innovation- Adapting to changing needs
- 2.Balancing ‘bricks and clicks’ shopping
- 3.Consumer commitment to support local business
SME Innovation- Adapting to changing needs
Over a third (39%) of small businesses surveyed have adapted their business model to keep trading during lockdown. This has led to the emergence of a new type of seller- the ‘AKA businesses’ that have diversified their offering with new products and services.
This trend has been well-received, as 81% of consumers say these changes have encouraged them to shop with small businesses, while 85% who have noticed small businesses adapt would like to see measures continue after lockdown has ended.
A balance of ‘bricks and clicks’ shopping
Two thirds (65%) of Brits shopping online are buying more than before lockdown, creating a lifeline for small businesses who have a digital presence. With 61% of consumers now feeling less comfortable shopping in store than before the pandemic, balancing online and offline measures will be an important part of the recovery process for small businesses. However, many have yet to take advantage of online selling with a third (31%) of small businesses not having a digital storefront.
Consumer commitment to support local business
Loyalty to small independent businesses remains high, with over half (51%) of Brits shopping with small businesses at least once a week since late March. Meanwhile, 82% of consumers intend to shop as frequently or more frequently with small businesses once restrictions are eased than before lockdown.
Hairdressers top the list of the most-missed small businesses during lockdown, while upon reopening the hospitality sector should also see a boom with restaurants, pubs and cafés also greatly missed by Brits.
Help is at hand
As part of its ongoing commitment to support small businesses, Visa has launched a new campaign to support independent businesses adapt for a post Covid-19 environment. This includes offers and packages that enable small businesses to build an online storefront; initiatives to enable sellers accept digital payments and encouraging consumers to shop local. For more information, please visitwww.visa.co.uk/where-you-shop-matters.html
Notes to editor
Research commissioned by Visa and conducted by Opinium Research from 27th May – 3rd June 2020.
For consumer data points, the total sample size was 2,001 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults aged 18+.
For merchant data points, total sample size was 500 owners of companies with 0-49 employees.