One of 2021’s biggest holiday trends is shopping local | RBC Ventures

One of 2021’s biggest holiday trends is shopping local

HED: One of 2021’s biggest holiday trends is shopping local

DEK: Ownr survey finds Canadians willing to spend more this December to support their favourite small businesses

‘Tis the holiday season, and this year Canadians overwhelmingly plan to support local retailers. The pandemic’s impacts on small businesses from indie boutiques to mom-and-pop eateries have inspired a swell of spending-driven patriotism among consumers.

According to a recent survey by Ownr conducted through Angus Reid Forum, 83 per cent of Canadians care more about supporting local small businesses this holiday season than in previous years. The results found Canadians were driven by wanting to boost the local economy and job market, knowing small businesses need the revenue, and a preference for buying made-in-Canada goods.

88 per cent of Canadians worry small businesses in their communities might close in the near future. With COVID-19 and the myriad of restrictions that have come along with it, and now with so much uncertainty around the new Omicron variant, the impacts on small businesses have been significant. Capacity limits, snarled supply chains, labour shortages, and increased costs have all taken a toll.

“The shopping habits of Canadians are being influenced by the reality that small businesses have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic,” says Shadi McIsaac, CEO of Ownr. “The positive sentiments towards supporting local small businesses is an optimistic signal to business owners, many who are still struggling with increased debt brought on by the pandemic.”

The good news for indie retailers is Canadians seem ready to back up their shop local intentions with their pocketbooks. According to Ownr’s survey, nearly half of Canadians are willing to pay up to 10 per cent more at a local small business for an identical item sold for less at a big-box store.

“Despite lower purchasing power, the overwhelming desire among consumers to support their local economy could be a much needed lifeline for small businesses,” says Derek Hopfner, Chief Revenue Officer at Ownr.

Also encouraging is that nearly 60 per cent of Canadians report finding their favourite local small business by window shopping. Whether walking or driving around the neighbourhood, Canadians are finding their local gems and they want to support them.

It’s been another difficult year for small businesses, but as customers make their holiday lists and check them twice, owners can take comfort in knowing Canadians have their back.