The UK’s Most Independent City

04 December 2018
3 minute read

From record stores to restaurants, cinemas to gyms, there’s an array of independent retailers in cities and towns across the UK. For those seeking one-of-a-kind cuisine and obscure music, these local businesses offer something different to the typical high street names. 

As the season of gift-giving is fast-approaching, it’s time to start thinking of the presents we can buy and where we can buy them from. If you’re thinking of supporting local independent businesses this Christmas, it’s worth knowing where they are.  

Here at Liberis, we can help you do just that, as we’ve looked into where you can find the UK’s most “independent” cities. It’s time to head to the independent hotspots and show our support for shopping local.


Where are the Independent Cities?

Using company information research sources, looking at a selection of SIC codes in isolation, Glasgow tops our list when it comes to having plentiful independent businesses. The Scottish city triumphed in several categories, coming first for the highest number of independent pubs and newsagents/off licenses. It also came second in the food and restaurants categories, showcasing a diverse selection of one-off eateries. 

Leicester came second on our list, closely followed by Manchester. Perhaps surprisingly, our fair capital only came in at number five, with London coming in just behind Birmingham. Scotland’s capital, meanwhile, was at number 10 on the list. 

Are you an Independent Shopper?

Where are you most likely to shop? Have you always tried to support local or are you only recently making the switch? 

Our research suggests that over 8 million Brits always opt to shop at small independents and actively refuse to spend their money at big chains. In comparison, 31.6 million admitted that they regularly shop at the big chains and spend at local businesses every now and then. 


Our research also found that women are more likely than men to swap out the well-known names for one-off stores. This pattern changes when it comes to the big Christmas food shop though, as women are heading to the big names for their turkey with all the trimmings. 

Interestingly, younger people are more likely to embrace independent retailers, with the 25 to 34-year-olds spending their cash with local, one-off stores. They also continue this trend during the festive season, purchasing presents and doing their food shop at independents. 

In contrast, the over 65s are spending their money at the names they know. Years of brand awareness for them means they’re keeping to the labels they’ve always shopped with. 

Shoppers by City

According to our findings, Scousers are most likely to shop at independents, with Liverpudlian females aged between 25 and 34 being the biggest supporters of local businesses (statistically, at least). Meanwhile, male Bristolians aged over 65 are statistically the demographic that are shopping at big chains instead. 

This all changes at Christmastime, however, as Bristol residents are most likely to buy their food from independent shops. Those in Norwich, however, stick to getting their mince pies from high street brands. 

When it comes to Christmas gift buying, independent retailers in Belfast see the biggest spend, while Geordies are most likely to buy all of their presents from the big brands. 

It’s Christmas!


So, how are we shopping at Christmas overall? Almost 6 million of us (5,858,160) are planning on doing our food shopping at independent retailers this year. The majority of people (41%) plan to use a mixture of local businesses and the big chains. When it comes to gifts, these numbers shoot up to 7.5 million of us supporting local. 

Are you planning on shopping local this festive season? What will you be buying and what independents are your must-visit for Christmas gifts?

Next Steps

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