£19 billion boost for SMEs as eight out of ten shoppers aim to spend extra with local businesses after lockdown

• Santander analysis shows on average UK adults would be happy to spend an extra £30 a month with local SMEs after the pandemic 1
• Across the UK, this could equate to a £19 billion annual boost for SMEs2
• More than two thirds (69%) of UK adults claim the pandemic has proven just how valuable local SMEs are to their community
• During lockdown, two fifths (39%) of UK adults spent nearly £10 a week more with local SMEs than before

New research from Santander UK reveals the Covid-19 pandemic shows consumers want to actively support their local businesses with increased spending, as findings reveal, on average UK adults are now willing to spend an extra £30 each month with small businesses. This has the potential to unlock a £1.58 billion monthly boost across the UK, or a total of £19 billion over the course of the next year.
With essential items, or deliveries from larger retailers, becoming difficult to come by during lockdown, many people turned to local businesses to meet their needs. Santander’s research – which polled 2,000 UK adults – showed that two fifths (39%) of UK adults spent more with SMEs during lockdown, with an estimated increase in spend of £38 per month, or nearly £10 per week. Now, as the UK starts to come out of lockdown, customers want to repay those local businesses by continuing to shop with them.

The adaptations introduced by many small businesses to survive Covid-19, including new delivery methods and product lines, seem to have in turn made them more attractive to local customers.  Small business owner, Kenny Tutt, Masterchef 2018 champion and founder of Pitch Restaurant, was forced to rethink his business model overnight, redesigning his menu and introducing a take-away service during the pandemic.

Commenting on the research, Kenny said: “The customer response has been phenomenal – on day one we got twenty takeaway orders, on day two around sixty to seventy orders and on day three we sold out within an hour. Our online customer base is also growing daily. As lockdown eases and normal service at the restaurant returns, we’re looking to keep the digital channels going.  We’re enormously grateful to our customers for all their support over the past few months.”

Susan Davies, Head of Business Banking at Santander UK, commented: “Since the outbreak of Covid-19, small businesses have played a vital role across local communities – and so it’s encouraging to see the public reciprocate. Supporting local businesses with extra monthly spending will help get the economy moving, which is just what is needed in the current environment. Santander is committed to helping SMEs survive, revive and overcome the challenges brought to them by the events of 2020.”

Nearly half (47%) of SME businesses say that their customer base had grown since the outbreak of Covid-193 while more than two thirds of consumers (69%) claim that the pandemic has proved how valuable SMEs are to their local communities. Looking to the future nearly two thirds (63%) of adults say they will continue to support and spend with local SMEs when the pandemic is over.

This marked increase in spending is most prevalent with SMEs across the food and dining industries. The research showed that 60% of consumers that have been spending more are shopping with small or independent food retailers instore, while almost a quarter (23%) are spending more online with restaurants as many began offering a delivery service in the wake of lockdown. Across other sectors, over a third (36%) of consumers have been spending more instore with pharmacies and health businesses while over a quarter (28%) have been spending more with outdoor retailers. One in five (19%) consumers say they have been spending more online with small or independent fashion and beauty retailers.

There are also signs of hope for businesses that growth could extend beyond the pandemic with over a third (36%) of consumers who spent more with SMEs saying they did so as they want to support them to stay open once the pandemic is over.

More information on Santander’s ‘Survive & Revive’ programme, including our webinars and a list of other helpful resources is at www.santanderbreakthrough.co.uk/coronavirus.

- Ends -

The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

Notes to Editors
1. Research is drawn from a survey conducted by Opinium research between the 9th – 11th June 2020. The base size was 2,003 UK adults, and was weighted to be nationally representative.
2. Mid-2019 ONS figures estimate that the UK’s adult population (age 18+) stands at 52,673,433 (52.7 million).
• 52,673,433 (52.7 million) multiplied by £30 additional monthly spend = £1,580,202,990 (£1.58 billion) monthly = £18.96 billion per annum.
3. Research is drawn from a survey conducted by Opinium research between the 10th – 19th June 2020. The base size was 2,050 UK adults who are senior decision makers at an SME business.

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 30 December 2019, the bank had around 23,500 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in Europe and the Americas, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Its purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025, as well as financially empowering more than 10 million people over the same period. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, Banco Santander had a trillion euros in total funds, 146 million customers, of which 21.3 million are loyal and 38.3 million are digital, 11,900 branches and 195,000 employees. Banco Santander made underlying profit of €1,977 million in the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 1% compared to the same period of last year.