Half of Scots say the pandemic has made them wary of visiting a local business
Half of Scots say the pandemic has made them wary of visiting a local business, with a new survey from BT showing the need for high street shops to have an online presence.
The survey found more than three in five people surveyed in Scotland are keen to support small businesses this Christmas because of concerns over their future.
But with smaller businesses under pressure from large online retailers, often offering lower prices and faster deliveries, nearly two thirds of those polled fear their local high street will be unable to survive the pandemic.
Overall, 41 per cent said they were put off by higher prices at local businesses, while just under a third said they were deterred by the limited products on offer.
It found 17 per cent of respondents were put off using a local business because it did not have an online presence.
The survey found that 71 per cent of Scots are increasingly worried about the impact on their community if they lose local shops, with 64 per cent agreeing that their community depends on local businesses.
Alan Lees, director of BT’s Enterprise business in Scotland, said: “Small businesses have undoubtedly been amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic, with national and local lockdowns severely impacting their ability to trade.
“It’s really heartening to see that communities across the Scotland are coming out in force to support their local high street this Christmas, as these firms rely heavily on the festive period to generate the lion’s share of their profits.
“The fact that consumers want to engage with small businesses, particularly online, but sometimes face barriers in doing so, means that it is absolutely vital for them to adapt by moving online or risk being left behind. That’s why we launched our Small Business Support Scheme – to boost the connectivity, cashflow and confidence of small businesses through faster broadband, digital payments and digital skills, amongst other forms of assistance.”