The survey by digital lender Everline found that 42 per cent of people shop local – showing loyalty to three or more businesses in their area.
Northern Ireland’s consumers were likely to be local shoppers, with more one third using local businesses locally.
Everline MD Russell Gould said: This research confirms the importance of small businesses to local communities, and highlights that they deserve support not just from consumers, but from the Government, the wider corporate landscape and the finance industry as well.
The research also identified some ways local shops can boost customer loyalty. More than half of consumers said more competitive pricing would increase their use of a shop and a quarter said they wanted to see a greater range of choice.
Gould added: Its important to enable SMEs to grow their businesses and encourage loyalty, whether that is through hiring skilled people, investing in promotional materials or expanding into new business areas.