Leeds crowned most ‘loyal to local’ city in the UK

10th February 2021

Leeds crowned most ‘loyal to local’ city in the UK

Tyl by NatWest urges consumers to keep supporting their local independents online and in person when lockdown ends

  • Top 10 UK cities ranked by percentage of income spent supporting local independents: Leeds, Nottingham, Glasgow, Sheffield, London, Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Belfast
  • 84% of UK respondents report actively supporting local independent business in 2020 (43.9m supported local, spending estimated at over £7.2bn)
  • Almost half (47%) think they could be doing more to support local, a fifth (22%) said they plan to increase spending at local independent businesses ‘significantly’ in 2021, a further 25% state they will do so ‘gradually’
  • 40% of respondents consciously tried to support small business in the pandemic, 45% said that the main reason they spent more at local businesses was due to the pandemic restricting movement
  • Consumers report an online presence (25%), loyalty schemes (23%) and accepting card or contactless payments (21%) would make it easier to continue or grow their support for local businesses.

Leeds has been crowned the UK’s most ‘Loyal to local’ city, as it’s residents spent the highest percentage of their income (45%) supporting local independent businesses in 2020 according to new data from payments provider Tyl by NatWest. (Check out Shop Independent in Leeds during Lockdown and Enjoying Leeds Independent Food & Drink During Lockdown.)

The nationwide survey of UK adults created a top 10 ranking of locally conscious cities:

  1. Leeds
  2. Nottingham
  3. Glasgow
  4. Sheffield
  5. London
  6. Newcastle
  7. Bristol
  8. Birmingham
  9. Manchester
  10. Belfast

The research captures the rising tide of support for local, independent business in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and comes as part of a campaign from Tyl urging consumers to stay ‘loyal to local’ as times get tougher for small businesses.

Amongst several key findings, 84% of those surveyed, which equates to 43.9m peoplechose to actively support local independent business over the past year with spending estimated at over £7.2bn2.

The research also examined the motivations behind consumers’ decisions to support local, finding that support is not unconditional. Whilst 40% consciously tried to support local – naming supporting the local economy and jobs (35%), reducing environmental impact (21%), better quality and interesting products (15%) and the introduction of easier methods of payment including contactless and QR codes (15%) as the reasons they shopped local more – almost half (45%) reported that the reason for their shift to local spend was due to the pandemic restricting their movement.

The data also highlights the impact of average income upon the ability to exclusively support local and almost a fifth (18%) of those surveyed earning over £55k said they were able to ‘only’ support local. This figure falls incrementally with income and compares to 13% of those earning between £25K-£35K and just 9% of those earning £15K and below able to ‘only’ support local businesses.

The top types of local independent businesses Brits spent money in the last year were:

  1. Grocery store (45%)
  2. Corner shop (42%)
  3. Pharmacy (32%)
  4. Restaurant (30%)
  5. Butchers (29%)
  6. Local market (25%)
  7. Beauty services (e.g. nails, hairdressers, treatments) (23%)
  8. Gardening (19%)
  9. DIY store (19%)
  10. Clothing store (17%)

Looking to the future, the study found that nearly half (47%) of consumers still think they could be doing more to support local, whilst a fifth (22%) of consumers plan to increase spending at local independent businesses ‘significantly’ in 2021 and a further 25% stating they will do so ‘gradually’.

Commenting on the findings, Mike Elliff, CEO, Tyl said: “The groundswell of locally conscious consumers across the country is truly inspiring, with many actively searching out ways to support innovative local businesses who are increasingly adopting cards, cashless and online solutions as lockdown restrictions continue.

“Small independent businesses are crucial to the national economy and our local lives, so even as we emerge from lockdown in the coming months we hope that shoppers continue to make the conscious choice to, where possible, spend with local independent businesses. Staying loyal to local will be more important than ever as we move forward.

In order to help generate insight for small business customers, Tyl asked consumers to share the top things that would help them to spend more often with local independents. The most popular response was for the business to have an online presence to allow purchases in lockdown (25%), followed by businesses having loyalty schemes (23%) and the ability to accept card payments (21%).

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 businesses, 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 its commitment to help businesses and communities thrive, Tyl has partnered with Pennies, the UK’s leading charity working to protect and grow micro-donations. Tyl donates a proportion of revenue to charities, meaning that businesses who use Tyl give back with every transaction.