• 59 per cent of Brits aged 18 – 34 prefer to buy from brands that market how they’re reducing their environmental impact1
  • This age group will pay an average of 12 per cent more for a product sold in a social enterprise, more than any other demographic
  • According to an industry report, social enterprises are now estimated to be worth £60 billion to the economy, with a record breaking 12,000 social enterprises founded last year

New research out today from Barclays has uncovered the changing shopping habits of Brits, with two thirds of those under the age of 35 (64 per cent) suggesting they are more likely to buy from brands with a social goal since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The bank and Social Enterprise UK have also revealed that in the wake of this demand from consumers, a record-breaking 12,000 social enterprises were created last year. In the UK, there are currently 100,000 social enterprises and they contribute £60 billon to the UK economy, employing two million people.

In the survey of 2,000 consumers, almost half (47 per cent) of Brits say they prefer to buy from brands that market clearly how they are reducing their environmental impact, which rises to 59 per cent for people aged 18 – 34. This demographic also suggested that they would pay up to 12 per cent more for a product sold in a social enterprise, higher than those aged 35 – 54 (8 per cent) and people 55+ (6 per cent).

The study suggests social enterprises are becoming an important shopping staple on the High Street, with 44 per cent of those surveyed saying they choose to buy from businesses that give back to the local community, and just over a quarter (26 per cent) preferring to buy from brands that voice support on big social issues such as BlackLivesMatter and LGBTQ+ rights.

And, according to the consumer research undertaken, one in eight Brits (12 per cent) have also considered opening their own social enterprise. Start-up ideas included honey businesses, baby goods retailers, coffee shops and plastic recycling facilities.

To help support the growth of social businesses, Barclays is launching a new offering which includes opportunities for free mentoring through their partnership with Ethical Angel and card readers for 12 months’ free rental with no cancellation fees, to help all businesses take card payments.

Peter Holbrook CBE, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said: “It’s great to see that UK consumers are now more than ever keen to support businesses that have societal and environmental purpose. Our research showed that social enterprises make a huge economic contribution to the economy, with communities increasingly interested in how business ecosystems can better support the planet and people.

“The pandemic has accelerated the shift to a more environmentally and socially conscious society, and it’s key that this is supported by politicians and investors alike. Whether it’s growing their business, hiring new staff, giving more opportunities to minority groups or tackling the climate emergency, social enterprises are leading the way.”  

Hannah Bernard, Head of Business Banking at Barclays, said: “The pandemic has forced us all to revisit our shopping habits, and it’s brilliant to see the support consumers are showing to social businesses across the UK. The resilience and creativity demonstrated by these businesses who do so much good – in spite of challenges wrought by the pandemic – is astonishing.

“Many of the societal and environmental challenges we’re facing are only set to intensify, and we believe social enterprises hold many of the answers. We’re proud to be strengthening our support of these businesses with specialist support and new access to finance, as they continue to do great things in our society.”

To read the full No Going Back: State of Social Enterprise Report 2021 visit: https://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/state-of-social-enterprise-reports/no-going-back-state-of-social-enterprise-survey-2021/

To find out more about Barclays support for social enterprises visit: https://www.barclays.co.uk/business-banking/sectors/social-business/

– Ends –

Notes to Editor:

1. Consumer research conducted by Opinium 04.10.21 – 06.10.21. Sample: 2,000 nationally representative 18+ adults in the UK

Social Enterprise UK, with the financial support of Barclays, commissioned BMG Research to conduct the State of Social Enterprise Survey 2021. BMG Research conducted fieldwork and initial data analysis. A total of 890 responses were gathered via telephone interviews and online surveys between February and April 2021.

Social Enterprises are businesses which have a legal commitment to achieving a positive social and environmental mission as well as delivering a profit. The majority of any profit that they do make must be reinvested either back into the business to deliver their mission or given to another organisation to achieve that mission. The UK is a world leader in social enterprise and has one of the largest social enterprise sectors in the world in terms of size and scale.

For more information, please contact:

Barclays press office: Sarah Orton – 07392 135 311 – sarah.orton@barclays.com

Social Enterprise UK: Andrew O’Brien – 07889 129 971 – andrew.obrien@socialenterprise.org.uk

About Social Enterprise UK

Social Enterprise UK is the largest network of certified social enterprises in the UK and the leading global authority on social enterprises. Together with our members we are the voice for the sector. We have led public policy for 15 years, helping pass the Social Value Act, and are a strategic partner to government. We exist to increase the profile of the sector and build the markets for our members – working with some of the UK’s biggest companies to support them to bring social enterprises into their supply chains. Our members reflect the diversity of the sector ranging from local grass-roots organisations to multi-million-pound businesses. We see social enterprise as the future of business.

About Barclays

Barclays is a British universal bank. We are diversified by business, by different types of customer and client, and geography. Our businesses include consumer banking and payments operations around the world, as well as a top-tier, full service, global corporate and investment bank, all of which are supported by our service company which provides technology, operations and functional services across the Group.