A consumer survey conducted by the Booksellers Association has found strong public support for shopping locally in the run-up to Christmas, in addition to an earlier start to festive buying.
The survey found increased support for the high street, with 96% of those surveyed stating their intention to shop in stores, rather than online, to "bolster local businesses". Almost 60% of participants also intend to start shopping earlier this year, compared with previous years.
The survey was distributed to bookshops who sent it directly to customers, and received over 600 responses.
Questions in the survey also sought to discover how the pandemic had affected the public’s reading habits and attitude to shopping in bookshops as they reopen. Those surveyed reported that the pandemic and lockdown had a positive impact on their reading, with three quarters of responses confirming that they have been reading more books than normal during the past six months.
The results also pointed to a marked increase in confidence among the public when it comes to visiting bookshops, with 96% of those surveyed agreeing that their local bookshop provided a safe shopping environment, the BA said.
Meryl Halls, m.d at the BA, commented: “There is no denying that it has been a difficult year for booksellers and the high street more widely, but it is heartening to see the responses from our consumer survey pointing to ongoing public support for local bookshops going into the crucial festive period. With many booksellers impacted by regional restrictions, and others still recovering from the national lockdown, it is more important than ever that people continue to choose bookshops and allow booksellers to continue the vital work they do in their communities."
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