Visa says there’s a “miracle on the high street,” as its latest study finds that a surge of consumer loyalty at the local level is likely to provide a new lifeline for small businesses.

The new research from Visa reveals mixed sentiment towards the future of the high street, with both consumers and small business owners tentative about their local town centres.

Three in four shoppers (76%) believe their high streets need support to pull through, while two in five (42%) small businesses say that the next three months are crucial to their survival.

High street woes drives consumers to shop local

Eight in ten (82%) consumers are worried about the future of their high street. An increase in empty shops and premises (50%) and the decline of the local economy (43%) top the nation’s concerns about their towns.

Nevertheless, UK consumers are determined to play their part in supporting their local businesses.

Some 80% of Brits shop as frequently or more frequently with small businesses since lockdown lifted. And 61% admit they could personally do more to support small businesses by shopping locally, either in person or online.

Small business remain hopeful even as confidence lags

Small businesses remain cautiously optimistic about the future, with over half (53%) confident they will bounce back over the next year.

Nevertheless, this fell to 33% since the introduction of the latest government guidelines.

Over one in five (22%) small business owners are not confident about the future. This number has increased to 29% since the introduction of the latest government guidelines.

Supercharging support for small businesses

To give local communities a boost at this critical time, Visa is partnering with Totally Locally, a grassroots initiative offering free Town Kits to small business owners and community groups looking to work together to protect the future of independent high streets.

Together they are encouraging small business owners to sign up to ‘Fiver Fest’, a two-week celebration of small businesses and local communities.

From 10th to 24th October, towns across the country will be coming together to host £5 special offers, thanking their communities for supporting the local high street.

With over half of consumers (52%) saying they could spend £5 extra a week with small businesses, Totally Locally and Visa are calling on consumers to make a change to their spending habits and shop with their local small businesses however they can.