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Play to your strengths in battle



Economy | News | Retail

By Stephanie Zillman

Australians prefer to support local businesses, both in terms of retail and in services, a new report has found.

Amid fierce competition and an increasing presence from foreign players, the 2015 Westpac Australia Day Report has shown that when it comes to making a purchase, buying local will be a determining factor in strengthening the national economy.

Westpac’s Danny John said 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.

“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,” Mr John said.

While customer loyalty is strongest in the retail sector, namely for fruit and vegetable shops, restaurants, cafes and pharmacies – loyalty can also extend to the services sector.

​A positive customer experience has wide-reaching flow on effects for future business as well. Indeed the report showed that one in five (19 per cent) Australians in the Gen Y demographic (20 to 34 years old) regularly support their preferred local suppliers by promoting them through social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

“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,” Mr John said.

What’s more, 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.”

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