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Small businesses expected to receive a festive boost as support increases in light of Covid-19

Press release   •   Nov 23, 2020 10:27 GMT

  • Just over a fifth (21%) of Brits claim they’re more likely to shop with small businesses this Christmas
  • Almost two thirds (65%) of those who are likely to shop with small businesses agree it’s important to support small businesses affected by Covid-19
  • As a small business partner, Post Office is sharing tips with small businesses on how to manage the expected postal rush

The pandemic has confirmed the importance of shopping with small and local businesses with just over a fifth (21%) of Brits saying they are more likely to buy Christmas gifts from small businesses, and of those who are likely to shop with small businesses, two thirds (65%) claim it’s important to support those affected by Covid-19, according to new research by Post Office1.

The crisis has impacted attitudes to gifting as nearly a quarter (24%) say it’s more important than ever to show friends and family you care about them, and of those wanting to make more effort this year, 27% of those who are likely to shop with small businesses claim that small businesses are more likely to sell the gifts they want to buy.

With the desire to make Christmas extra special this year and reports that more businesses have turned to online stores and marketplaces as a result of Covid-19, Post Office is showing its ongoing support to local communities and small businesses by being open and ensuring posting is as smooth as possible for sellers this year. Small businesses and entrepreneurs rely on Post Office’s ‘Drop & Go’ service in order to get their goods out to customers, even more so during ‘lockdown’ restrictions. More than 170,000 small businesses are signed up to the service with 1,000 more joining every week and usage of ‘Drop & Go’ is up 50% compared with last year.

Mark Siviter Managing Director of Mails & Retail at Post Office, said

“The support for small and local businesses is one of the positive outcomes we’ve seen as a result of the pandemic and it’s reassuring to see the prediction that this sector is expected to thrive over the festive period.

“We found that two thirds (65%) of those who are likely to shop with small businesses understand the importance in supporting those affected by Covid-19. As long a long-standing partner, we will be open and there to support small businesses more than ever this Christmas as they deal with the expected surge in demand over the festive period.”

The disruptions from the pandemic mean that more than a fifth (22%) of those who expect their plans for Christmas Day to be affected by COVID-19, have already decided they will be sending Christmas gifts through the post rather than giving them in person this year and there is an anticipated 50% increase of footfall in Post Office branches this festive period. As a result, small businesses are being urged to plan ahead to ensure their items reach customers in time, whilst making the most of the services offered by Post Office to support them.

Five tips to SMEs sending out gifts this Christmas include:

  • Utilise Drop & Go. Designed to speed up the posting process for regular senders, Drop & Go is a free, same-day service which enables sellers to use the fast-track counter service and skip steps such as weighing packages. The service is available as soon as you sign up online - www.postoffice.co.uk/dropandgo
  • Visit us at a quieter time, that suits you. Branches will be sharing details of their quieter times with posters in their windows and through their google page. You can use our Branch Finder tool to find out about your local branch and check when branches are open at a time that suits you. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are generally quieter and are likely to be the best times to visit in the run up to Christmas.
  • Post as soon as you can. As more people are wanting to make Christmas extra special this year, Post Office data also shows that 56% plan to send gifts earlier. To avoid the December rush, it’s best to post gifts out as soon as you receive an order to avoid queues as Christmas gets closer. If posting parcels overseas then it is also important to check the last posting dates for these destinations:https://www.postoffice.co.uk/last-posting-dates

  • Let our postage experts help. Our trained and friendly postage experts are on hand to help you choose the right postage for parcels to ensure your gift reaches its destination correctly and on time. If in doubt, just check with them.
  • Take time writing postage labels. Our data shows that 27% of Brits like to receive handwritten notes so if you are handwriting your address label, make sure to take care when doing so and ensure you are sticking to Post Office’s guide to addressing mail to make the process as seamless as possible

About Post Office

  • With over 11,500 branches, Post Office has the biggest retail network in the UK, with more branches than all the banks and building societies combined.
  • Post Office is helping anyone who wants cash to get it whichever way is most convenient. Partnership with over 30 banks, building societies and credit unions means that 99% of UK bank customers can access their accounts at their Post Office.
  • Cash withdrawals, deposits and balance enquiries can be made securely and conveniently over the counter at any Post Office; and the biggest investment by any organisation or company in the last decade is being made to safeguard 1,400 free-to-use ATMs across the UK.
  • Post Office is simplifying its proposition for Postmasters with a focus on its cash and banking; mails and parcels; foreign exchange; and bill payments services.
  • Research has found that visits to the Post Office help drive another 400 million visitors to other shops, restaurants and local businesses equating to an estimated £1.1 billion in additional revenue for High Street businesses.
  • 99.7% of the population live within three miles of a Post Office; and 4,000 branches are open seven days a week.