Shop Local: Uttlesford residents want to shop locally more, survey suggests

The majority of our Uttlesford respondents want to shop locally more because of the pandemic. Photo: ANDRA MACIUCA.

The majority of our Uttlesford respondents want to shop locally more because of the pandemic. Photo: ANDRA MACIUCA. - Credit: ANDRA MACIUCA

Uttlesford residents want to shop locally more, but businesses are very worried about income and may have to make staff redundant.

Our Shop Local survey gathered views from shoppers, staff and business owners, almost all of whom are in Uttlesford.

The good news is more people are switching to shopping locally.

And with 36.7 percent admitting their business relies on Christmas trade a lot, now seems the perfect time to make a difference and support local businesses, while looking for gifts for our loved ones.

However, if we as customers don’t take action, it could mean unwelcome change - as coronavirus lockdowns have impacted business income.

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Almost a third of respondents said they will likely be forced to make redundancies within the next six months.

One business owner said they might be forced into making redundancies, something they did not want to do.

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“We don’t have enough footfall anymore. Our income has gone down considerably.

“I can’t keep up with my overheads, my rent is extortionate and my landlord will not reduce our rent.”

They added: “We won’t get any grant, even though we are key workers offering an essential service.

“We are just going to make enough to get us through Christmas. I am really worried about January.”

Our 139 respondents told us that Government support or schemes such as Eat Out to Help Out would help local businesses and influence shoppers’ habits the most.

The majority of shoppers said they are looking for affordable products when shopping. More than half said they want local and original products, whilst just under half said they are interested in sustainable products.

The survey found that before the pandemic, 77 percent of our respondents shopped at various types of businesses. Only 15.1 percent shopped at local independent shops, and 3.6 percent shopped online.

Now, more than third of our respondents shop locally more, and while another third have started shopping online more, 63.3 percent intend to shop more locally.

Whilst a small percentage was shopping at established chains before the pandemic, the interest seems to be even lower now, the survey data suggests.

A third of our respondents highlighted they value advertising in the local paper, and just under a third deemed editorial coverage, including reviews, as important.

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