Small businesses have been in the news in the UK of late, with thousands of entities that were forced to close as a result of the coronavirus pandemic expected to receive payouts on insurance claims worth in excess of £1 billion.
This was revealed following an historic victory at the UK’s Supreme Court, with the Financial Conduct Authority (which brought the initial case) arguing that businesses were entitled to insurance payouts in the wake of Covid-19 and its socio-economic impact.
Aside from the sterling work of the FCA, consumers nationwide have also played a huge role in sustaining businesses over the course of the last 10 months. But what are the exact trends that we have seen since the pandemic first took hold?
How Customers are Leading the Way
According to one survey conducted by Nucleus Commercial Finance, UK customers have become increasingly inclined to support their local businesses since the pandemic began.
In fact, a staggering 96% revealed that this was their broad intention throughout last year, while a further 63% made a special and concerted effort to prioritise small and local businesses when Covid-19 was first declared a global pandemic in March.
More than 70% of consumers who responded to the survey also said that they planned to spend more with their local businesses than they did in previous years.
What’s more, just under 80% of London-based consumers claimed that they will buy more items specifically from small and independent suppliers following the Covid-19 outbreak, as part of a wider change in their behaviour.
What About the Role Played by Large Corporations and Lenders?
There’s no doubt that smaller businesses have been overwhelmed by this level of support, while even larger firms have also done their best to encourage customers who may want to change their spending habits.
Not only this, but private lenders have also stepped in to offer financial support to businesses, including the aforementioned Nucleus.
Operating as an alternative lender, this firm has recently pledged to lend an impressive £200 million to SMEs through the government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). This money is likely to be distributed by the end of March, to coincide with the end of the public scheme on 30th March.
Of course, this also continues a wider trend in the fintech space, with alternative lenders becoming increasingly accessible and often the first port of call for smaller ventures throughout the UK.
Since this scheme was announced, an estimated £19.64 billion worth of loans has been dished out to more than 82,600 businesses. Private lenders have played a key role in this, enabling smaller firms to stay afloat and consolidate their position in their chosen marketplace.