UK shoppers move online to support local retailers

More UK shoppers are shifting towards buying online from local high street businesses over major national retailers, according data from ShopAppy.com.

The online platform supported by Visa and NatWest, which connects customers to their local high streets, has seen a threefold increase in users and small businesses registered for its service since March.

Now more than 340,000 customers use the service to buy products and services from local businesses and have them delivered to their door, showing continued growth in public support for small high street businesses in the grip of coronavirus lockdowns.

The data supports wider research published by NatWest in September, which found spending in Britain’s towns and smaller cities was up by 30 per cent year on year.

“It’s been a devastating year for local businesses on our high streets, but I have been overjoyed to see that their fighting spirit remains as strong as ever,” said founder and chief executive, ShopAppy.com, Dr Jackie Mulligan. “We have seen a record increase in the number of businesses joining our platform over the course of 2020 and the variety of goods on offer is now greater than ever.

“What’s even more encouraging is that the wider communities in towns and cities across the UK are now getting behind our high streets. We’re thrilled to be working with the likes of Visa and NatWest to help reach even more high street businesses and customers and look forward to a busy Christmas period.”

Andrew Harrison, head of business banking, NatWest said: “As the UK’s number one bank for business, it’s really encouraging for us to see small, local businesses seeing considerable growth on platforms like ShopAppy during the pandemic. That increased presence is a testament to the agility and innovative nature of UK SMEs, and we want to help more small businesses use services like ShopAppy to reach more customers, regardless of the ongoing uncertainty of many sectors. We’re delighted to be offering free sign ups to our customers until February next year to help make that happen.”

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