The rapid changes brought about by the global coronavirus pandemic have left many people reassessing their priorities, both regarding their health and how they support their community. During the past few months, as COVID-19 has taken hold of the world, the notion of supporting locally-sourced goods and businesses has increased in popularity.
Brandwatch, a leading consumer research firm, recently issued a report titled, “Will Covid-19 Change Consumer Behavior in the Long Term?” The report was based on a survey conducted across seven countries (the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Spain and Singapore). There were almost 7,000 respondents.
As part of the survey, Brandwatch found out that “33% of consumers think it’s more important that the things they buy are locally sourced now compared to before the outbreak.”
The report also found that the, “[u]se of the hashtag #ShopLocal has also jumped in recent months – there were more mentions of it in March and April 2020 than there were in November and December 2019 (Black Friday and holiday gift buying season).”
What does it mean to support local? Well, that depends. As Brandwatch states in their report, “There is a lot to unpack here, since a preference for locally sourced goods could be driven by a number of factors. Wanting to support struggling local businesses, like independent butcher shops, boutiques, or takeaway services, might be one reason to shop local, but politics could also come into it.”
How Can You Help?
As community members seek out ways to support local businesses, they may be left asking how to do just that. Thankfully, there are a myriad of ways to support local businesses. Here are some suggestions:
- Shop at local boutique or specialty stores rather than big box stores like Walmart and Target.
- Purchase plants from a local nursery or garden shop.
- Order food from a mom and pop restaurant.
- Bank at a regionally-owned financial institution or co-op.
- Subscribe to a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) box of fruits and vegetables from a local farm, or purchase goods from a farm stand.
- Buy items such as soap, lotions, and gifts from local artisans.
- Purchase honey from a local beekeeper.
- Purchase alcohol from a local brewery, winery, or distillery.
- Utilize a small business’ in-store ATM rather than getting cash from a large financial institution ATM.
- Purchase “locally grown” items in your supermarket.
- Buy bread from a local bakery.
The notion of “shopping locally” can become second nature if we start to think about ways to support our immediate community. Not only does this help the local economy grow, it ensures that the fabric of our community is stable and flourishing. By looking more closely at supporting local businesses, we can all make small changes that will yield huge results. Our new perspective on business will last long after COVID-19 has been relegated to the history books.