Is ‘Buy Local’ fatigue setting in?
The “Save my business!” plea that helped many local stores and restaurants salvage sales in the early months of the pandemic is losing relevance as the economy and job market recovers, according to a survey of Canadians from the market research firm Leger Marketing.
“Recruiting is not easy right now,” said Leger EVP Christian Bourque in a webinar. “So, this argument of ‘Do it to save jobs, be a good citizen,’ I think it will disappear quite quickly.”
Moreover, the survey of just over 4,000 Canadians conducted from April found 30 percent admit to “getting fed up of hearing about buying local.” More worrisome, the support-local fatigue figure is “much higher” among 18-to-34 year olds, the coveted Gen Z and Millennial-age targets.
Local establishments need to provide more substantive reasons for shopping local, according to the study authors, including stocking fresher product and controlling the whole process to ensure maximum quality. Reducing your carbon footprint would also be a sustainable benefit.
“We need to provide the right reasons to buy local because just to save the local economy … will not suffice as we come out of the pandemic,” said Mr. Bourque.
The survey did find 73 percent indicate they make a conscious effort to choose a local option. Keith Barry, VP strategy at creative agency lg2, which collaborated on the study, said, “How we’re looking at it is that local will become less of a primary purchase decision and more something that, all things being equal, might sway consumers one way or the other.”
One hurdle facing buying local is that 77 percent claim it is sometimes difficult to find local products in stores.
A survey of 1,500 Americans taken last December commissioned by Intuit as the first vaccines began rolling out found the top reason to shop local was to keep money in the community, cited by 57 percent; followed by connecting with community and supporting local creators, each at 38 percent; having better service, 28 percent; and helping local non-profits, 19 percent.
- The Commercial Shift: The Recovery (Phase 4) – Leger Marketing
- Buying Local Statistics for 2021: Survey Finds 70% of Americans Shop Small – Intuit
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Have local retailers begun to lose much of their pandemic-related support and goodwill? What messages should local retailers and restaurants be sending at this stage of the pandemic’s recovery?