Locals support small business

2014 Westpac Survey shows good things for local small businesses.

Whether your small business is thriving or just surviving in this economic climate, it’s good to know that a high majority of Australians have your back. Just off the back of the patriotism displayed on 26 January came the second annual Westpac Australia Day Index, which shows some pleasing results when it comes to the attitudes and consumer habits of our nation’s patrons.

Here are the key findings:

  • 90% of Australians stated they felt loyalty towards their local small business. That means often choosing to shop with them rather than their larger, commercial competitors, or at least feeling a greater sense of allegiance with smaller businesses. To be more specific, 39% of Australians said they were loyal toward their local grocery store, 37% backed their local pharmacy, 21% preferred to dine in small-business restaurants and 20% ate at their local bakery, and finally 20% trusted their local butcher.
  • 71% of Australians who shop locally do so because they believe it supports the local community. Further to that, 68% of local small-business supporters stated that if a small business were to close in their area, they would feel as though a significant part of their community had been lost. This goes to show the weight of importance placed on small businesses by members of their communities, an importance you may not realise when focusing on your day-to-day operations.
  • 58% of Australians believe the backbone of the Australian economy is small business. Not megafranchises, national chains or transnational companies – small businesses.
  • 50% of Australians support small businesses by using word of mouth. As many of you will be aware, customers recommending your goods or services to their friends and family is one of the most powerful marketing tools. Here, half of the people surveyed are automatically providing this word-of-mouth service instinctively, showing a great deal of potential for further growth.
  • 49% of Australians believe buying locally is the most important thing we can do to help our economy. In a nation that is rapidly becoming more franchised and big-business orientated, it’s surprising to know that the majority of people believe that buying locally is crucial for our economical sustainability; 49% may not seem too high, but put into perspective that the second-highest answer came in at only 13% (that small businesses were important for increasing productivity), you can see it was quite a popular choice.
  • 45% of Australians use local businesses more than they did last year. While the Westpac Australia Day Index doesn’t show an insight into why this trend is so, if it continues in the way it is going it can only mean great things for the small business world.

So what does all mean for you? They say that knowledge is power, and in this instance having the knowledge of Australian consumer habits and loyalty patterns means you have the power to gear your business to accommodate that. Use it wisely!