Brits plan to shop more independently this Christmas

In November 2021, 28% of businesses were reporting a decrease in turnover compared with normal expectations for this time of year as the negative impacts of COVID-19 on trade remain. However, as another festive period is upon us, Christmas shopping presents an unrivalled opportunity for shoppers to support their local independent businesses.

Printing company, ICON Printing, has surveyed over 2,000 UK shoppers to reveal how they plan on spending their money this year. Alex Econs, founder of ICON Printing, also spoke to Esther Knight and Tanya de Afonseca about how important it is to support small independent businesses during the festive season. 

The survey revealed that over half (59%) of Brits think supporting independent retailers is an important consideration when buying gifts this year and two thirds (67%) said they are considering shopping sustainably this Christmas.

Alex commented: “Christmas shopping presents an invaluable opportunity to support independent businesses and is one of ways we can work towards a more socially just and environmentally sustainable future.”

ICON Printing spoke to Esther Knight, the founder of Fanfare, a circular fashion label transforming the way people buy, wear and discard clothing to discuss the importance of shopping small and sustainably this year. 

Esther said: “Although this year has undeniably been tough for both individuals and businesses there is hope that out of crisis, we can make new beginnings. Staying at home has strengthened peoples ties with the local community and there is a strong shift towards supporting small business this Christmas, especially as so many small businesses have been started in the wake of furlough and redundancies. Having been deprived of many cultural experiences, whether that be shopping, visiting galleries and going to the theatre and events, the value of creativity and skill has been brought into focus as vitally important and a unique human trait that technology cannot replace.

On sustainability she added: “It should be the norm for businesses to have responsible operations. Everything we do has an impact and it is important that businesses try and make this a positive impact where possible.

“Transparency will be an important theme for the industry both in terms of sustainability and wider cultural values. In an era of misinformation consumers are demanding companies to be authentic and truthful in their mission.

When discussing the importance of shopping at independents this Christmas Esther said: “Supporting small helps us invest in our social impact initiatives. When purchasing from us it isn’t just about getting a product but customers are fuelling our good work. It allows us to work further with human trafficking charities to eradicate slavery from fashion supply chains as well as our homeless charities empowering women & teaching skills to get them into work. We are individuals behind the brands and unlike when you shop at larger retailers we celebrate every purpose and value every customer.”

ICON Printing also spoke to Tanya de Afonseca, owner of the London- based Zero waste shop BYO, that is reducing packaging and food waste in our homes and community, about why shopping sustainably is so important. 

Tanya said: “Covid has given everyone a sucker punch; for a lot of people, shopping sustainably just isn’t a priority right now. But shopping locally can allow you to support small businesses that are more likely to align with your moral compass rather than the profit seeking practices of big business.

“Through covid, there has been less footfall - it’s a lot more quiet. Despite everything, people are still coming out to our shops, there’s a demand and a desire for change. We’re hearing it more and more, and seeing it more and more. People are becoming more conscious and educated about their impact on the world around them.” 

Alex continued: “At ICON Printing, we work with a number of independent businesses and we think it is incredibly important to encourage people to support them, they are an essential and integral part of our highstreets. Sustainability is at the forefront of consumers' minds and this is forcing businesses to respond, almost half (43%) of orders we have printed in the past month have been for designs printed on responsibly sourced and ethical garments.”²