The shop local movement had already started to gain some momentum during the drought and bushfire season. However, with borders remaining closed and people spending more time at home, it has continued to expand throughout Australian communities.
Increased Interested in Locally Made
Bernie Hughes, managing director of Nielsen’s Connect, stated in an interview that he believes consumers will develop a range of new shopping habits in the coming months because of the pandemic.
Mr Hughes reported that these new buying patterns suggest Australian consumers are becoming more intimately aware of the need to support local businesses and favour locally made products over imported overseas varieties. [*1]
The shop local trend hasn’t escaped the notice of eBay’s local managing director, Tim MacKinnon. Mr MacKinnon has already started laying the groundwork for the next crop of Australian entrepreneurs who will likely use eBay as a significant part of their marketing strategy.
A new “Australian Made on eBay” section has already been created on the platform. This speciality section filters Australian made products. It makes it more convenient for eBay shoppers to find Australian products, while allowing eBay to benefit from the growing interest consumers have in creating a more self-reliant national economy.
According to eBay, there has been a 57% annual increase in the sale of Australian Made brands from its 11 million-strong customer base. [*2]
Consumers Care More About Product Origin and Sustainability
The pandemic has made Australians more aware of the need for transitioning to a more sustainable economy that is not so easily influenced by global events like a pandemic.
During the current pandemic, there have been periods where shortages of staple foods and products became commonplace around the country. Financial challenges and unemployment are also continuing to have a profound influence on the Aussie lifestyle.
Panic buying is on the decline, but other influences on food supply, such as supply chain disruptions, are also affecting food and staples supply. Inefficiencies in the processes, such as reliance on a just-in-time delivery system, especially from overseas markets, have also become glaringly apparent as manufacturers struggle to adapt to changing consumer needs and demands.
Just like they did during the great depression of the 1930s, families are learning to live more simply and are becoming more discerning about where they source their products. In a post-pandemic world, we can expect more Australians will have developed permanent shopping habits which lean towards supporting local businesses operating under sustainable business practices.
The Shift Towards Australian Made
The Australian Made initiative has been backing the Australian retail sector for decades, but the move towards supporting local manufacturing has taken on more importance because of the pandemic. The organisation has been quick to throw its weight behind renewed efforts into making Australians more aware of the consequences of their shopping habits.
Plus, there are hundreds of smaller manufacturers supporting consumers and businesses in all manner of products. From shoes and clothing to sheds and brooms, Australian manufacturers are ready, willing and able to support the local economy.
The global markets are changing, and many of Australia’s new shopping habits are likely to remain in place for many years, if not permanently. In this new environment, we look forward to seeing how both brands and retailers will adapt and develop in meeting the changes in consumer needs.