Social media is driving support for small businesses, reveals new research

New research from American Express Show Small has revealed that more consumers are supporting independent brands and retailers because of social media. The findings have been published ahead of Small Business Saturday, which will see its card members receiving £5 cash back when they spend £15 or more at participating small stores.

In a survey of 2,000 UK-based adults, nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) who follow more small businesses on social media now than they did 12 months ago are spending more with them. In total, UK consumers have spent £3.7 billion with small businesses they follow on social media in the last year.

While following small businesses on Instagram is more prevalent among females and those under 35, those aged 55 and over are the most likely to have spent with SMEs (68 per cent), compared to 59 per cent of those aged 35 and under.

The research also reveals nearly half of followers (47 per cent) are more willing to spend more money with a business they follow on social media.

UK consumers’ support for small businesses also goes beyond financial benefits. Over half (55 per cent) of those who follow small businesses say their social content makes them more willing to tell their friends and family about the business, while 52 per cent care more about the success of the business and are happy to buy their products.

Meanwhile, over a third of small business followers (35 per cent) say they are more willing to support SMEs since the start of the pandemic.

Dan Edelman at American Express comments: “Supporting a small business in any way – whether that’s by following them on social media, sharing their social content, or ultimately shopping with them – makes a huge difference, especially after such a challenging 20 months. American Express has a long history of supporting small businesses, and with our Shop Small Offer launching this weekend on Small Business Saturday.”

Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday, adds: “Digital channels have been a lifeline for businesses during the pandemic and this research shows just how much that converts into income for the smallest businesses. Building relationships online can open up huge opportunities for retail and hospitality and we have seen just how much the public have embraced those relationships over the last year. With Small Business Saturday coming up, businesses have a great opportunity to engage with customers through social, to build even bigger reach via things like the friends and family referral (55 per cent) and make this festive season a commercial success once again.”