As lockdown measures evolve, new research from Visa reveals mixed sentiment towards the future of the high street with both consumers and small business owners tentative about their local town centres. Four in five shoppers (84%) believe their high streets need support to pull through, while 38% of small businesses say that the next three months are crucial to their survival.
High street woes drives consumers to shop local
Nine in ten (95%) consumers are worried about the future of their high street, higher than anywhere in the UK, with an increase in empty shops and premises (82%) and job losses in the community (58%) topping Welsh concerns about their towns.
Nevertheless, Welsh consumers are determined to play their part in supporting their local businesses with 80% shopping as frequently or more frequently with small businesses since lockdown lifted and 73% admitting they could personally do more to support small businesses by shopping locally, either in person or online.
Small business remain hopeful even as confidence lags
UK small businesses remain cautiously optimistic about the future, with over half (53%) confident they will bounce back over the next year. Over one in five (22%) small business owners are not confident about the future.
The research from Visa also revealed that half (46%) of UK small business owners say that if everyone in their local community spent just £5 extra a week with small businesses either on or offline, it would help them to survive in the long term.
Supercharging support for small businesses
To give local communities a boost at this critical time, Visa is partnering with Totally Locally, a grassroots initiative offering free Town Kits to small business owners and community groups looking to work together to protect the future of independent high streets.
Together they are encouraging small business owners to sign up to ‘Fiver Fest’, a two week celebration of small businesses and local communities. From 10th to 24th October, towns across the county will be coming together to host £5 special offers, thanking their communities for supporting the local high street. With three in five (59%) saying they could spend £5 extra a week with small businesses, Totally Locally and Visa are calling on consumers to make a change to their spending habits and shop locally where they can.
Dominic White, Head of Merchants and Acquirers at Visa says: “We know that 2020 has been exceptionally challenging for small businesses so we’re doubling down on our commitment of support. Visa is proud to work with Totally Locally in its mission to bring communities together, and we encourage all small businesses to sign up to Fiver Fest ahead of 10th October. The next three months will be such an important period for small businesses, so we are urging the nation to back the spirit of Fiver Fest and shop local, either online or offline, to help communities recover.”
Chris Sands, Founder of Totally Locally says: “We’re pleased to see how Fiver Fest has grown over the past couple of years and we hope that through the partnership with Visa more consumers and businesses will be a part of it than ever before. It may not feel like a big contribution but that’s why we say just diverting £5 a week to small businesses will make a huge difference. If we all make this small change in our spending habits, it will go a long way to reviving our communities.”
Visa’s partnership with Totally Locally is part of its ongoing Where You Shop Matters campaign, a long-term commitment that recognises the essential role that small and independent businesses play in our communities. Visa has been drawing on its network of industry, technology, and community partners to provide much needed assistance to the small businesses as they rebuild for recovery.
For the first time, Totally Locally is also creating a virtual shopping experience helping towns to get local businesses online – launching initially in Hebden Bridge, Leek and Crickhowell, with many more towns to follow.
For more information, please visit www.fiverfest.co.uk for a list of towns taking part or if you want your town to join in.