More than half (56%) of small business owners are concerned they will not be able to bounce back from the impact of Covid-19, according to a new survey by Visa.
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 and mortar’ stores if strict social distancing is in place, while nearly one in five (18%) will not return until a Covid-19 vaccine is developed.
On the back of the survey results, Visa has published a guide entitled ‘Adapt for Recovery: Helping small businesses build for the future’. It reveals three key trends in consumer and small business behaviour that will define recovery across the UK. The key trends are:
- SME innovation – adapting to changing needs.
- Balancing ‘bricks and clicks’ shopping.
- Consumer commitment to support local business.
SME innovation: 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.
- 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 go to www.visa.co.uk/where-you-shop-matters.html