A study released by Westpac Bank earlier this year, found that fruit and vegetable shops, restaurants, cafes and pharmacies are the most popular retail choices for Australians who buy their goods locally, with nine in ten (92 per cent) Australians feeling loyal to at least one local business in their community, and spending an average of $237 per month on locally made products.
“Strong community relationships are important to Australians, and more than two fifths (43 per cent) of Australians say they shop at local businesses because they have built up relationships with the owners. It is also encouraging to see two fifths (43 per cent) say they would pay a little bit more for local goods and services,” said Westpac’s Danny John. Almost half (46 per cent) of Australians say that making local purchases will be the most important thing we can do to strengthen the economy in 2015.
Highlighting the import role that local business plays in providing more choice the Westpac survey reports that, “More than two thirds of Australians (68 per cent) wish there were more opportunities to shop for locally made products and produce in their area.” Australians who do shop locally and have strong relationships with their local business owners often go above and beyond to support and promote them.
The report further states that social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook are important, especially in the Gen Y demographic (20 to 34 years old), where one in five (19 per cent) Australians will regularly support and even “promote” their preferred local suppliers. “While the rise of technology and social media are rapidly changing the way we interact with retail outlets and communicate to our networks, it is encouraging to see that Australians of all generations have such a positive sentiment towards local businesses, and are looking to support and interact with them,” said Mr John.
The ‘builder’ demographic (69 years and older), choose to support their preferred local suppliers by visiting in-store regularly, with almost three quarters (70 per cent) saying they like the personalised service local vendors provide. “Despite the increased presence of international stores and retail chains in Australia, we are still seeing consumers acknowledge the importance of local business to our communities and economy, and celebrate and support local outlets however they can.”
Key findings from the 2015 Westpac Australia Day Report
About the survey
The 2015 Westpac Australia Day Report was commissioned by Westpac Banking Corporation and conducted by Sweeney Research. It was released 23rd January. The research was conducted online between 25 November and 2 December 2014, and interviewed 1,019 Australians. The sample was weighted to ensure representation of the Australian population in accordance with census data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.