Kind words cost nothing but when posted on social media they could be worth in excess of £31.3 billion[1] per year to the small businesses on Britain's high streets, according to research from American Express.

While word-of-mouth endorsements from loyal customers have always been key to helping small businesses thrive, that effect is magnified when shoppers recommend local small businesses, such as shops, cafes and hairdressers, to friends and followers online.

An independent study for American Express conducted by Econsultancy* found that while the average spend in a small shop is £6.58, if a shopper goes on to share positive comments or eye-catching images on social media with their friends and followers, this has the potential to generate £125[2] additional revenue for that shopkeeper from new customers.

As part of its commitment to help small businesses thrive, American Express encourages more shoppers to share their great experiences on Small Business Saturday and throughout the rest of the year.

social sharing infographic

[1] £31.3 billion is the annual revenue that could be generated if everyone who shopped small regularly recommended their positive experiences on social media. This has been calculated as: the average number of social media followers who act on a recommendation, multiplied by their average individual spend in a small shop, multiplied by the number of times the average person recommends a small shop over the course of a year, multiplied by the total UK population who shops in small shops

  • Approximately 1 in 10 people (10.8%) in an average social media circle will see and act on a recommendation
  • The average spend in a small shop is £6.58 per visit
  • On average people who shop small recommend 8 small shops a year via social media
  • 31.34 million UK adults say they shopped small in the past three months

[2] £125, the average additional revenue to a shopkeeper has been calculated as: the average number of social media followers who act on a recommendation multiplied by their average individual spend in a small shop.

Research conducted in 2015

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American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.