New research has revealed that Kiwi consumers are continuing to make a concentrated effort to support local businesses more than a year after the pandemic first hit New Zealand. Nearly a quarter (24%) claim they now visit local shops more than they did pre-Covid times.
The new insights come from MYOB’s latest Consumer Snapshot which looked into consumer shopping habits and spending following the nation’s experience with COVID-19. The Snapshot – a survey of more than 500 consumers – also found that in a given week, more than three quarters (77%) of consumers make most of their purchases at local stores, while 22% do most of their shopping at both local and international stores.
MYOB Senior Sales Manager SME – Krissy Sadler-Bridge, says it’s heartening to see so many local consumers continuing to back local businesses, particularly as business confidence remains unsteady.
“As minimal international tourism and border restrictions continue to impact trading for some of our SMEs, it’s up to local consumers to back local businesses and it’s great to see Kiwis are stepping up to the plate.
“Shopping local not only helps drive continued employment in Kiwi-owned and operated businesses – it also supports a whole business community ecosystem, from local suppliers and manufacturers, to courier drivers, accountants and tradespeople and this all plays an important role in helping our economy thrive.”
Local spending increasing
The research also highlighted that a proportion of these customers are spending more on their purchases. MYOB’s Consumer Snapshot showed that more than a quarter (28%) of those shopping local, have increased their spending at local businesses.
“While an increase in the number of consumers shopping local is encouraging, seeing that a number are saying that they’re spending more at these local businesses in comparison to pre-COVID times is even more of a boost,” says Sadler-Bridge.
“Now, it’s up to our SMEs to make sure they’re thinking about how to increase or diversify their appeal when it comes to targeting those looking to spend more of their hard-earned cash in their community.”
Attracting new consumers
Insights from the research highlighted a range of factors that would further encourage consumers to buy from or support a local business:
- 46% said offering loyalty/member rewards would further encourage them
- 31% said the same of vouchers issued by the Government specifically to encourage spending at local businesses
- 29% said they would be more encouraged if they knew more about their supply chain.
It’s important for SME operators to understand what’s driving demand, in order to convert the current buy-local trend into a long-term habit for local consumers.
“With so many stores and product-options available, it’s essential that SMEs consider what will prompt or encourage consumers to buy from them. A lot of consumers want to know that they are getting the best deal – and one that they can’t get elsewhere, which is why exclusive member deals could really make a difference,” she says.
Spending plans for 2021
For the remainder of the year more than one-in-five (21%) consumers said they expect to spend ‘a bit more’ in 2021 than they did in 2020, while 42% of consumers plan on spending ‘about the same’ amount of money, with 17% expecting to spend ‘a bit less’.
“While consumer spending plans tend to remain relatively stable overall, their ongoing efforts to support local businesses and consideration around extending this support further, really captures the Kiwi community spirit that shines through in difficult times,” says Sadler-Bridge.
“With more than half (53%) recognising they could better support small businesses by purchasing their products more regularly and 39% of consumers saying the same about visiting local stores more often, it appears that the appreciation and importance of having a unique and vibrant local business sector has really set in for some time to come.”