UK consumers spending more with small businesses, American Express Shop Small research reveals

  • New research from American Express Shop Small shows social media support for small businesses is growing – 72% of UK adults who follow more small businesses on social media than they did 12 months ago say they have chosen to spend more with those business
  • UK consumers spent £3.7 billion with small businesses they follow on social media in the last year
  • Research revealed as American Express launches Shop Small Offer, giving Cardmembers a £5 statement credit when they spend £15 or more at participating small businesses across the UK, up to 5 times, once per participating location, starting on Small Business Saturday (4 December).*

Social media has been key for businesses and customers to stay connected and engaged during the pandemic, and new research** from American Express Shop Small(NYSE:AXP) shows that social media has driven UK consumers to spend more with small businesses in the last 12 months.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of UK adults 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 them (68%), compared to 59% of those aged 35 and under.

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

Restaurants have benefited the most from the power of social media, with their followers on average spending £50.80 with them in the last year, followed by clothing businesses whose followers have spent an average of £32.60.

Beyond the Bucks 

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

Over a third (35%) of small business followers say they are more willing to support small businesses since Covid-19.

Following small businesses makes followers more likely to: % of small business followers
Willing to tell friends and family about the business 55%
Happy to buy the products 52%
Care more about the success of the business 52%
Emotionally engaged with the founders and those who work within the business 49%
More likely to visit the business in person 47%
Willing to spend more money with them 47%

Dan Edelman General Manager UK, Global Merchant and Network Services at American Express, said: “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, Cardmembers can get £5 back when they spend £15 or more at participating small shops across the UK.”

Michelle Ovens, Director of Small Business Saturday, said: “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%!) and make this festive season a commercial success once again.”

* Terms, locations and payment restrictions apply. Full terms and conditions apply. Offer excludes Corporate and Pre-Paid Cards. See here for full terms.

**A nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ was conducted by Opinium between 9-12 November 2021.


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