In many industries, location matters. Quite often, if you’re not based in London (or within touching distance), you’re at one hell of a disadvantage. The quality and quantity of leads generated from the capital tend to be unmatchable elsewhere.
Such are the importance of keywords in such a context, there’s often a little stealthy readjustment from the real location (London Oxford Airport, anyone?!).
But about those for whom location isn’t a factor? In the past, we’ve never made much of the fact that we’re based in Leicester. (See more about us here.) If the majority of our work doesn’t involve face-to-face meetings, should it even matter at all?
Well, recent research suggests that it might do after all.
The fact is: homogenisation has long been reducing the charm of the ‘local’ economy. It might sound anachronistic to say that, speaking from a fairly large city, but it impacts us everywhere we look, and it’s largely because the largest businesses are growing while the rest sink into oblivion.
Pubs are closing at an alarming rate (apart from Wetherspoons, which is expanding). Independent bakers are closing. Dairies are struggling to earn a fair crust from supermarkets. Cafés are blitzed by the big chains: Starbucks, Costa, Nero… Where homogeneity has no home, we produce a heterogeneous economy. Where big business overlooks, economic and clinical depression lingers.
The internet can be a strong contributor to this homogenisation. If we’re looking for the cheapest deal, we’re not often too bothered where it’s coming from. Location becomes lost in the mire of white space and power-clicking.
But even as we love our takeaway macchiato, the convenience of a late-opening Tesco Express, and the consummate ease of shopping online, there’s just enough nostalgic blood within most of us to realise that we’re losing all sense of locality behind our goods and services.
Emotional attachment is important for sales. We’re ruled by the heart more often than we might think. But what if the product is a credit card, for example – exactly the same as that listed on any competitor’s site? It takes quite some imagination to contrive any emotional attachment to cold, hard, expensive (though not always), practical plastic.
One of the few areas of attachment – a difficult one to measure and to reach – is that sense of loyalty and locality that people want to cling to. Why let Feel Epic, the Meerkattery, or the criminally annoying Gio Compario add to their soaring coffers while there’s a perfectly good alternative here in Leicester?
Part of our responsibility is playing fair, with good humour and good sense. If there’s a good product that we’re not able to list, we’ll not pretend it doesn’t exist. Sometimes, we find good cause to argue that our listings have particular merits, during ISA season, for example.
We want to bring you the same great deals; so why not make Which4U your price-comparison site of choice? (Need more persuading?)
Majority Yet to Join the £14 Billion Bandwagon
Given the cacophony of infuriating adverts, it’s easy to assume that a majority of people must now be using price-comparison websites and similar tools to find better deals on personal finance products. Surprisingly, it appears that’s not the case.
Brits are now saving an average of £346 each per year through scouting around for the best deals on the internet, Santander has revealed. That’s a total of £14 billion.
But only a quarter of us are using price-comparison websites, voucher-codes and/or finance blogs to make savings. One fifth of people claim to have found sources that they are happy to use regularly.
And we’re definitely not equally proactive as a nation. In fact, listed by location, there’s quite a wide disparity between the most and least proactive major towns and cities in the UK. We’re paying close attention to the bottom of the pile.
Britain’s Bargain-Hunting Cities
|City/Town||Amount Saved Per Year|
To Santander, understandably enough, it’s good news all round.
Our research has shown the flip side to the doom and gloom associated with a recession as many people are actually reaping some pretty significant financial benefits by shopping around for the best deal.
Keith Moor, Director of Brand and Communications, Santander
But what it tells us is that there’s a majority of people left to convince; and evidently, plenty of them are in Leicester.
So, maybe we still have to convince. A good place to start is with feel-good logic. What’s the potential impact of savings hundreds per year?
- Savings: If the amount saved through bargain-hunting was paid each year into a tax-free ISA paying 3%, the average Leicester patron (at £240) would currently expect to make £2,512 after 10 years and £8,510 after 25 years. The average Birmingham patron, on the other hand, at £528, would make £5,525 after 10 years, and a whopping £18,722 after 25 years.
- Mortgage: Given the relatively low return on savings at the moment, it’s almost certainly worth overpaying on a mortgage. If Birmingham residents put their annual bargain-hunting savings towards paying off a £150,000 mortgage at 4%, the overpayment could knock 2 years and 3 months off a 25 year term and almost £9,000 in interest alone. Leicester residents, at £240, would save £4,300 in interest, and pay off the loan 13 months ahead of schedule.
Wake up Leicester! It’s never too late to join the money-saving bandwagon, and we’re here to help you find better deals from day one.