Newly launched online marketplace, MADE IN CYMRU, has found that 68% of consumers are now opting to use small and independent businesses following the COVID-19 pandemic instead of the large corporations such as Amazon. The same survey found that a further 26% are now starting to make the switch.  

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on all of us. Thanks to social distancing and lockdowns, we have all had to adapt to a new way of living, and a recent survey conducted by Made in Cymru has found that even as things begin to return to some semblance of normality, these changes are here to stay. 

68% of those people polled by Made in Cymru stated that over the course of the pandemic, they have ditched the large corporations and instead started shopping with independent local businesses. Building on that, a further 26% of people stated that they were beginning to make the switch towards using small and independent companies instead.  

Made in Cymru is the innovative new marketplace for Welsh artisans that has been specifically designed to give these small and independent businesses the chance to reach new customers. The innovative digital platform helps these companies showcase their products online with ease, allowing them to connect with potential customers in the local area.  

Mike Gwynne is the Founder of Made in Cymru, he told us….

“The pandemic has changed all of our lives, but this survey shows that some of these changes look set to stay. During the early stages of lockdown, there was a growing demand for local businesses, and it is fantastic to see that nearly 70% of consumers are planning to continue that support as things begin to return to normal.” 

The Welsh Government also encouraged us to keep it local when they launched Shop Local Week last year, a campaign encouraging us to get back to the way of life we’d missed during the pandemic.

From popping into a local family-run bakery for a loaf of bread, or buying a quirky gift from an independent shop, by shopping locally people can help local business owners and local communities get back up and running.

Here are 8 reasons why we should all try to visit our local high street this week:

1. Help the high street and support the local economy

Shopping at local businesses pumps money into the local economy, and by spending money in their local shop, restaurant, café or pub, shoppers can do their bit to aid our national recovery across the country.

2. Save jobs – and create even more

Supporting our high streets creates jobs in local communities, supporting often young and disadvantaged people to find employment. Helping to grow the number of jobs in our local areas makes for a better place to live and work, which then creates a healthy economy for the community.

3. Great deals

You might be surprised to see just how competitive the prices are in your local shops. Independent retailers often reward regular customers, while others often provide great deals that can’t be found in major outlets – meaning people save money as they spend.

4. A safe way to shop

Businesses across the country have been following government guidance and implementing a range of measures to ensure people are safe while they shop, such as customer limits inside the store, plastic partitions at tills and hand sanitising stations.

5. Preserving the heart of the community

A thriving high street is key to boosting the potential of a village or town where people can socialise as well as shop. Local businesses also generate revenue to support council services such as libraries, parks and roads that benefit communities across the UK.

6. Spoilt for choice

Small and local businesses often stock items which are made locally and aren’t available elsewhere else, providing a great range of choice and unique products that bring much-needed originality and variety into communities – including rare finds and items that aren’t mass produced.

7. A better shopping experience

Small businesses are often run by people who live nearby. As the UK continues to recover from the pandemic, the experience of buying locally from a friendly face offers a dose of normality that many people may have missed.

8. Help the environment

Local shops often source their goods locally, helping to reduce their carbon footprint. When shopping local, people are also more likely to walk or cycle to get there – doing their bit to reduce air pollution, reduce traffic and improve the quality of the nation’s high streets.

Michelle Ovens is the Director of Small Business Saturday UK and Founder of Small Business Britain, she said…….

“Small businesses are the beating heart of communities and town centres up and down the country, and they will be at the centre of the recovery. These small firms – from the local greengrocer, to the neighbourhood gift ship – were there for the nation during lockdown and now they need our support to get back on their feet.”

Federation of Small Business National Chair Mike Cherry continued……

“It’s vital now more than ever that we do what we can to support our local small businesses. The past few months have been among the most difficult that businesses have ever had and as we slowly reopen, the public can help by supporting their local businesses. Whether it’s your local grocer, decorators or florist, they all need the support of their communities in order to survive this crisis and thrive.”

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