10th April 2020 | Blogs

By iwoca on 10/04/20


#StockUpSmall Gives British Public Reason To Shop Beyond Major Supermarkets And Support More Small Businesses

  • iwoca research shows that British public is significantly more sympathetic towards the struggles of small businesses compared to large companies (21%).

  • However, nearly 70% would not use small businesses if they could save just £1 by buying from a large company instead.

  • Inspired by Joe Taylor, founder of Real Handful snacks, iwoca is supporting small businesses and encouraging people to #stockupsmall.

London, 10th April, 2020. iwoca, one of Europe’s largest business lenders, is supporting UK-wide initiative #StockUpSmall, to inspire the public to use local businesses at this crucial time.

Attitude of British public towards small businesses

Research1 by iwoca pre-pandemic, carried out to understand the loyalty of the British public, suggests that they are more sympathetic towards small business struggles when compared to large competitors.

A panel of 1,300 people were asked how they felt after being presented with a series of potential scenarios that small businesses and their larger counterparts could face (shutting down, hacking attempts and community initiatives). Respondents were then measured and asked to record their levels of sympathy, positivity and disappointment.

Across all scenarios the British public showed an average of 21% more sympathy towards struggling small businesses and felt 19% more positivity when reading about their successes. However, price is key and most (68%) were willing to not use small businesses if they could save as little as £1 at the larger store. When faced with the choice of buying the same product at the same price, 72% chose buying a product from the small business with just over a quarter (27%) choosing the large store.

Results also suggest that small businesses could risk losing almost half (48%) of their customers if prices were just 10% higher than their larger competitors2 (pre COVID-19).


Launching today, #StockUpSmall is an opportunity for the public to demonstrate their commitment towards these smaller firms and get their hands on hard to find items such as eggs or tinned tomatoes. Joe Taylor, founder of Real Handful snacks, and Andrew Allen of Biff’s Kitchen, both decided to do something to support smaller brands and encourage small business owners to keep serving their customers during these times. Joe created a social media campaign using the name and hashtag #StockUpSmall, and Andy built a site for smaller brands to show they were still able to deliver products direct to consumers.

iwoca, Real Handful and Biff’s Kitchen are now working hard to raise awareness of the campaign, highlight the role that small businesses can play in this crisis and encourage consumers to look beyond supermarkets. #StockUpSmall allows businesses and the general public to promote and highlight any discounts being offered as well as making it clear that they are still open.

“The demand for major supermarkets has been so strong that they’ll probably do quite well during this crisis,” said Seema Desai, iwoca’s Chief Operating Officer. “It’s going to be Britain’s small and micro businesses that will suffer the most. Supporting this campaign is a truly great way to help them - simply share your stories using #StockUpSmall and nominate your local favourites and they’ll be added to the list. #StockUpSmall will help spread the word about what these businesses have to offer.”

“Ultimately, it’s about survival for as many businesses as possible,” said Joe Taylor, founder of Real Handful. “There’ll be a time beyond coronavirus when we all start getting back to shopping as normal – if there’s a way that, in this interim period, our initiative can inspire people to discover small businesses and try new things, then hopefully businesses like Real Handful will still be around after all of this.”

Many small businesses are adapting to the current climate by offering deals, discounts and changing their business models. A wide range of brands are already involved in the campaign such as plant-based meal provider Pollen + Grace, musician marketplace, Encore, London House Plants and Small Beer.

“We’ve basically turned the business into what it was in the beginning,” said Kristina Komlosiova, co founder of Pollen + Grace. “We started delivering to homes again which is exciting – we usually produce tonnes of food which often just goes onto a shelf in a supermarket, but with this we really get to interact with customers again. #StockUpSmall could help create a wonderful legacy that could impact not just the food industry, but other industries too. Hopefully consumer habits start to change, and, after this, people are slightly more aware of smaller businesses.”

Shop small and tell all your friends!

Members of the public (and business owners themselves) can use this form to sign up any small business to the Stock Up Small directory. iwoca will then send promotional materials to these businesses so that they can share the news with their customers and help spread the word.


  • Photos of all small business founders mentioned in the press release can be found here.

Contact: Charlotte Emms, UK PR Specialist, iwoca, (07599192298) or Mark Di-Toro, Head of UK PR, iwoca, (07957970976) - press@iwoca.co.uk

  1. A total of 1,300 British adults were surveyed in September of 2019 through an independent consumer research platform. Respondents’ ages and genders were representative of the UK adult population. Two surveys were carried out. In the first, 602 people were shown seven fictitious news scenarios based on real news stories. Half the respondents saw small business versions of the stories, while the other half saw big business versions. At no point were they explicitly told that the survey was about their feelings towards Britain’s small businesses.

  2. In the second survey, 698 people were presented with two purchasing decisions. In the first, they were asked to imagine they needed to buy a new iron and that they could choose to purchase it from either a small business or larger retail chain. The model of iron was identical in both cases, and the stores were equally convenient to buy from. For each buying decision, a logistic regression model was used to investigate the relationship between the increasing price difference and the probability of choosing the small business instead of the large business.

About iwoca

iwoca is unlocking economic growth by expanding the financial possibilities available to small business owners. No more convoluted forms, long waits and unfairly rigid criteria. Using our award-winning technology we offer loans of up to £200,000 through our website, partner integrations and our Lending API. Since launching in 2012, we have made funding available to 50,000 businesses and have raised over £400 million in equity and debt finance. For more information go to www.iwoca.co.uk, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @iwoca and Instagram @iwoca.

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