Updated: 18 December 2020
Supporting small businesses has always been at the heart of what we stand for at Funding Circle. For 10 years, thousands of investors like you have given them vital finance to grow, create jobs and drive the economy forward. After what has been a highly challenging year for small businesses, we’re delighted that people across the country are choosing to help them out this Christmas.
We surveyed 2,000 UK adults and found that 51 per cent are going to go out of their way to support small businesses this year, with 48 per cent wanting to completely avoid buying from large corporations.
More than half said their shopping habits will be different this festive season, with a fifth planning to leave behind their usual ‘go-to’ presents. Instead, shoppers want to be more creative with the gifts they buy and spend more time looking for more personalised items.
After a challenging, rollercoaster year, many people across the UK will still not be able to see their loved ones. So, to help make up for it, people are putting in more effort and seeking out more thoughtful presents.
Lisa Jacobs, our Europe Managing Director said: “After an extraordinary year, we’re all thinking more about the Christmas presents we’re buying and where we’re buying them from.
“It’s brilliant to see shoppers championing their local small and independent businesses this festive season, finding gifts that are unique and well-suited to their loved ones.”
The research found that people find they can get more unique gifts from small businesses, or that they get a good feeling from supporting family or local businesses and have more of an experience.
As a result, more than half are even willing to pay an average of £26 more for a unique, personal gift from a small business than those from a chain.
Finally, many people have said that 2020 has made them realise how important small businesses are and 56 per cent believe they need the nation’s support more than ever.
Mike Turner, along with Krisi Smith, is co-founder of Bird & Blend Tea Co – a Funding Circle customer and independent, award-winning tea company based in Brighton which has shops across the UK as well as an online store.
They sell 80 different blends of tea at a time – ranging from liquorice, to coconut, to mulled cider.
Mike said: “Providing a personalised touch seems more relevant this year. People are creating bespoke gift boxes that remind them of moments or emotional connections with that person. So if you have memories of trips to the ‘pick ‘n mix’ at the cinema with your brother as a youngster, you might choose the rhubarb and custard flavour tea. Lots of people want to support their smaller, independent companies too.”
Another small business which has experienced growth with a Funding Circle loan is RocketGardens.co.uk. The family business in Cornwall grows and delivers vegetable patches to green-fingered customers across the UK who want their own patch.
They sow and grow thousands of organic vegetable plug plants, herbs and potted fruits ready to be delivered to gardens at just the right time for planting out. Over the past year, sales have gone up by 500 per cent and they’re now ramping up for a busy Christmas as people look for novel gifts for friends and family.
Founder, Michael Kitchen said: “We have found that customers really like the idea of growing their own vegetable patch and they then decide to buy them as a gift for someone else. You can give someone a voucher and we will then deliver them their own organic garden patch.
People want to avoid plastics, to be more organic and to grow and eat their own vegetables. For many people they might be in the city and have never grown anything before so we hold their hand during the process.”
So whether you’re super prepared this year and only have one or two presents left to buy, or if you’re leaving it until the very last minute, don’t forget to support small this Christmas.