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Small businesses could see a Christmas boost of £4.4 billion this year, with £140.4 million spent every day in December, according to research by Direct Line for Business.

A survey of 1,090 people found that shoppers plan to buy 18% of their gifts at independent retailers, with each person spending £87.51 on average.

The majority (93%) of people surveyed feel it's important to support local businesses, and 89% worry that without doing so, we'll be left with ‘clone' high streets that all have the same chain brands.

The research also shows a growing demand for unique items, as around 82% of people say they are looking for something less generic and more unusual to give as a gift.

Jemma Holloway, retail product manager at Direct Line for Business, said:

"UK small businesses provide such fantastic service and the opportunity to buy unique gifts so it's great to see that this is being recognised and appreciated by shoppers this Christmas.

"We should do our best to support the small businesses in our towns and cities, otherwise we risk these businesses disappearing from the high street altogether."

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