More people than ever searching for, and shouting about local favourites online

social media

Thanks to social media, shopping habits are seemingly returning to days of old, with more people than ever making the effort to get out, explore their local area and find ‘hidden gems’, according to new research.

Posts relating to finding a new local business on the photo-sharing app Instagram, have grown at a rate of more than 50 per cent year-on-year. The most popular terms being used to describe a discovery of a new local business on social channels are all positive, including ‘wonderful’, ‘cool’ and ‘love’. In fact, the use of the term ‘wonderful’ to describe a local business has increased 270 per cent since 2016.

With this heightened rate of discovery, local food and drink establishments are the most popular business types to be shared online, with shares of vegetarian food likes increasing by 408 per cent from 2016-2017, Thai increasing by 217 per cent and Spanish increasing by 200 per cent in the same period. Locally owned vegan eateries closely followed, with a 157 per cent increase.

How ‘Instagrammable’ a service or product is, is also now a key factor for many consumers, with 1 in 5 people rating ‘Instagramability’ as more important than cost when searching. While a third of Londoners admit they care more about how something will appear on their Instagram feed, than the actual end product itself.

The study also found that Sunday is our most preferred ‘day of discovery’, with 16 per cent of all local shares via Instagram or Facebook, happening on what was traditionally seen as the day of rest.

Over 110,000 start-ups have already been launched in 2018 and to further celebrate the resurgence of local businesses, is visiting 20 cities in the UK to celebrate the nation’s local small businesses.

Heading up this campaign to ‘#lovelocal’ is former BBC Dragons’ Den panellist and champion of small business Sarah Willingham, said: “Small, local businesses can offer more exciting, enjoyable and personal experiences, so it’s amazing to see these local discoveries are being more readily embraced and shared by the British public. What I love about being an investor is discovering the small businesses in the country that are doing something different, so I think it’s great that is helping the country to discover these gems in their local areas more easily, too!”