Shopping in small businesses makes us happiest

A study of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by Avery WePrint, has revealed there’s more to purchasing from a small business than just supporting the local economy. 

The study suggests it actually makes us feel happier than when we purchase from a large corporation.

Over 80 per cent of Brits reported feelings of happiness or contentment when they purchased from a small business. This figure dropped to just 53 per cent feeling this way after purchasing from a large company.

A quarter of Brits said choosing to buy from a small business actually made them feel good about themselves. The feeling applied to a range of purchases from essentials such as haircuts and fresh fruit and vegetables to larger, special purchases like new furniture for the home. 

The top ten products and services Brits prefer to purchase from a small business:

  1. Haircut
  2. Restaurant Meal
  3. Fresh produce e.g. fruit and vegetables
  4. Takeaway tea and coffee
  5. Greetings cards, gifts and presents
  6. Car repairs and services
  7. Books, newspapers and magazines
  8. Snacks and food to go
  9. Jewellery
  10. Artwork
In fact, over three quarters of Brits said they would put their trust in a small, local chain or an independent when making a big purchase.

“We commissioned the study to show just how much the UK’s small and independent businesses have to be proud of,” says Avery WePrint’s marketing director Fiona Mills.

“We want to encourage these organisations to celebrate their status as a small business, it’s something very special. There’s no feeling quite like starting and growing your own business, so why not shout about it?”

Personalised service

The personalised service offered by small businesses was cited as the number one benefit of buying from them, with over 60 per cent of Brits agreeing with this. 

This was closely followed by good customer service, feeling valued and being able to deal with the same staff.

It appears there are definitely some lessons in customer care that big businesses could learn from. 

A frustrated 58 per cent of Brits had experienced poor customer service at the hands of a large organisation including waiting on hold for more than 30 minutes, no-one getting back to them and excessive cold calling. 

The top three big business customer service fails were found to be unpleasant staff, being ignored or forgotten about and receiving an impersonal service.

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“Businesses of all sizes can learn from one another, what’s important as a business grows is not to lose sight of the values and service levels that were there in the beginning,” says Mills. “Customers say they feel valued by small companies and that’s something every business should be trying to emulate.”

Brits are more likely to trust small businesses

Unsurprisingly, Brits were more likely to put their trust in a small business owner than the CEO of a large company. A third of people felt that small business owners were trustworthy but just 5 per cent of Brits felt that the CEO of a big business could be trusted.

When asked how they’d describe a small business owner, the number one response was “hard working”, cited by almost 75 per cent of people. Yet only 22 per cent of people felt the term “hard working” applied to big business bosses. 

Instead, words such as “ambitious”, “greedy” and “materialistic” featured highest on the list of words used to describe the CEO of a large company.

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