NatWest research highlights appreciation for service staff in local businesses in London – but only one in eight actually plan to ‘support local’ this festive season

Over four-fifths (84%*) of consumers in London have a greater appreciation for staff working in local businesses as a result of the pandemic.

The latest data from Tyl by NatWest in partnership with YouGov revealed that with many UK small businesses forced to firstly shut up shop and then to adapt to new ways of working in response to Covid-19 restrictions, public appreciation for those working in local independent retailers, restaurants and other SMEs has soared.

However, despite the increased appreciation of small businesses on their doorstep, looking ahead to the festive season, less than one in eight (12%) report that they intend to spend most of their Christmas budget with local, independent businesses. Additionally, more than two-fifths (43%) admit to having cancelled plans to spend money eating or drinking at local, independents because of Covid-19.

In response to social distancing measures, gift giving has taken on a deeper significance during the festive season with more than a third (35%) of survey respondents reporting that they had sent gifts to friends and family as a way of staying connected to their loved ones throughout the pandemic.

Mike Elliff, CEO, Tyl said: “This research clearly demonstrates that now, more than ever, people in London have an appreciation for those working in their local cafes, pubs and shops.

“The weeks and months in the run up to Christmas are traditionally filled with parties, meals out and last-minute shopping trips. Although this year’s festive season might look different, we’re calling on everybody who can support their local independent stores to make sure their purchase behaviour reflects their good intentions.

“Covid-19 has had a substantial impact on small businesses – many of whom have been forced to close or operate with reduced hours. Through contactless and telephony payments and the facilitation of eCommerce transactions, Tyl, along with the wider payment industry, has a clear role to play in helping the country’s high street and hospitality sector to recover and rebuild for the future.”

The survey examined predicted consumer spending behaviour in the run up to Christmas.

Unwrapping support for small businesses

As the festive season approaches, the data predicted where consumers will spend money this Christmas, revealing that only 12% of Londoners expect to buy the majority of their Christmas gifts from local independent stores, whilst more than one in five (21%) predict that they will rely on national chains.

With social distancing reducing capacity in shops, and pubs and restaurants no longer able to accept payments at the bar, Tyl offers customers the freedom to process transactions throughout the entire venue, reducing wait times and ultimately increasing revenue. Tyl also offers next day settlement, ensuring that money reaches the merchant the next business day.

Rise of eCommerce

As a result of the UK high street operating under lockdown restrictions, eCommerce is anticipated to play a central role in gift-giving this Christmas, with more than one-fifth (22%) intending to do most of their shopping with online only business and more than two-fifths (43%) anticipating that at least 70% of their Christmas purchases will be made online.

Only 2% of respondents estimate that they will do all their Christmas shopping in traditional bricks and mortar retailers, indicating that local independent stores will have to adapt to online demands in order to maximise festive returns.

Support for all payment methods

Whilst the consumer and business trend towards contactless and card payments continues, NatWest continues to support its personal and business customers with cash requirements, as supporters of UK Finance’s Access to Cash Initiative. The bank has become the first in the UK to offer fee-free secure cash home delivery to vulnerable customers, as well as keeping over 95% of the branch network open throughout the pandemic, and backing ATM operator LINK’s 12-month pledge to maintain free-to-use ATMs.

Tyl by NatWest is a new, innovative payments service designed in partnership with UK SMEs to make it easier for small business customers across the country to receive payments in-store, online and over the phone and manage cash flow during COVID-19 and beyond.

Tyl provides next-day settlement for users, ensuring money is in their bank account the next business day, which has been a crucial factor in assisting businesses with cash flow during the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of our commitment to help businesses and communities thrive, Tyl has partnered with Pennies, the UK’s leading charity working to protect and grow micro-donations. The partnership grants a proportion of profit to charities, meaning that Tyl customers can benefit their local communities by choosing us as your payment partner.

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