It’s good news for independent retailers, with research suggesting that shopping local seems to be here to stay. Local shops have seen higher demand with 1 in 10 extending their opening hours (13%), and 41% saying they’ve seen an increase in trade levels in April 2021 compared to April 2019.
The news follows the growing trend for shopping more sustainably with nearly half of Brits (42%) saying they would be more likely to visit a business that was doing its bit to be more sustainable.
Over half of small businesses (51%) have introduced upgrades that make their business eco-friendlier, with over a fifth (22%) reducing their plastic waste, 20% deciding to use more recyclable materials, 18% going entirely paperless, and nearly half (44%) embracing a smart meter.
Over 1 in 10 (11%) small businesses have installed a smart meter since the start of the pandemic with a further 25% saying they have either applied for one or plan to get one. Of those who have had one installed, three quarters (76%) say they are more conscious about their businesses’ energy usage which has led to an average estimated monthly utility bill saving of £32.80, that’s a huge £394 a year!
Josh Kay, co-founder and director of The Syrup Room, says: “COVID-19 meant that most of our upcoming contracts were cancelled or postponed, leaving us all stunned. It was a really odd time for us, normally we’re constantly on the go but grinding everything to a halt was unfamiliar and quite unsettling. During this uncertainty, we helped out clients adapt whilst also making upgrades to our own business. We revamped our workspace, hired more people, and also upped our technology – setting up a lab with 3D printers and installing a smart meter. Not only has our smart meter saved us time and money, it’s also allowed us to run a more sustainable business. By moving to a smart meter, we have been able to reduce our energy waste and know exactly what we are using, allowing us to reduce both our energy usage and our bills.”
Smart Energy GB’s Fflur Lawton adds: “The last 18 months have been incredibly tough for businesses but with the world starting to re-open, we’re all looking forward to the Great British Summer. Lots of businesses have been looking at ways they can optimise themselves and the experience of their customers, upgrading their booking and ordering and even the way they track their energy by using smart meters. Nearly half of British micro businesses are already use a smart meter to help keep track of their energy usage and checking if your business is eligible for a smart meter couldn’t be easier. Every single one fitted across the country is a positive step towards a smarter nationwide energy system.”