Three in four (74 per cent) shoppers in Europe are now more likely to shop in their local communities than they were a year ago, according to new research released by Mastercard today.

The role of small businesses within the national economy has been severely disrupted by the public health crisis this year.

“But with Mastercard committing $250m globally to helping local heroes bounce back, and trust in local shops at an all-time high, small businesses will be able to thrive again both within their local communities as well as in the global economy,” the company said.

In Europe there has been an introduction of a range of services including the Business Unusual platform and the Mastercard Trade Solution. Both of these provide services beyond traditional banking and help small businesses save money and time.

The research suggests people around Europe are spending more locally to help local communities bounce back in the same way (49 per cent).

People are developing new relationships locally

Newfound relationships with local shopkeepers and independent stores (28 per cent) and trusting in recommendations from people in the community (26 per cent) are popular reasons for the increased love for local.

Two thirds (65 per cent) of European say they have a newfound appreciation of community and local shops since the onset of Covid-19.

Convenience (50 per cent), queues for bigger supermarkets (40 per cent) and limits on travel (31 per cent) the top three reasons for people rediscovering shops on their doorstep.

Just over three quarters of people (77 per cent) say they prefer to buy from someone they know and 72 per cent trust recommendations made by local shopkeepers.

Community values have soared since lockdown

Some 58% people are more likely to say hello to their neighbours than they were one year ago.

One in five (19%) have a spare key for their next-door neighbour. Now 44% say they take online deliveries for them and 18% say they are in a neighbourhood WhatsApp group.

The research also revealed that local cafés, butchers, corner shops, bakeries and pubs are amongst the top staples of a modern community.

Top ten staples of a local community

1) School

2) Café

3) Bakery

4) Post office

5) Park

6) Corner shop

7) Pub

8) Church

9) Library

10) Butcher

Mark Barnett, President, Europe at Mastercard said:

“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy.  As people reconnect with their local communities, they are rediscovering the huge number of great, varied and unique small businesses in their local communities and neighbourhoods.

“The bounce back of the economy starts on our doorstep. Local shops and communities play an enormous role in aiding the recovery and return to growth.”