Mum and pop shops, the local businesses that are the backbone of any neighbourhood, not only helped Aussies get through the events of last year but thrived doing so, a new report from CBA found.
The CommBank Consumer Insights Report evaluated the impact of COVID on consumers’ lives and behaviours.
CBA executive manager, consumer and diversified industries, Jerry Macey, said as consumer habits changed, Aussies businesses rose to the challenge.
“It’s great to see consumers supporting local Australian businesses. We’ve seen Aussie businesses adapting to consumers’ changing needs and their customers have noticed,” Macey said.
“There is goodwill among customers and an overall perception that the retail experience has improved across online, in-store and delivery services. It’s a credit to these businesses that they’ve been able to adapt and thrive during such a challenging period.”
Over 50 per cent of Aussies said they prefer sticking to Australian-made and expect they will continue to do so.
Macey told Yahoo Finance that local businesses really stepped up in the last year and in turn there has been an increase in gratitude.
“There are a couple of more obvious reasons people have relied more on local businesses; one being if you’re working from home you’re more likely to buy your coffee from the local coffee shop rather than go into the CBD,” he said.
“But I think there are also more subtle things at play. The report did not delve into it, but I think there is an appreciation factor, where we want to support those local businesses that helped keep us going through COVID lockdowns.”
Macey said those businesses which remained open, switching up their practices to ensure customers and employees were safe built up a rapport with their customers.
“It’s a time now where Aussies are supporting those businesses back,” Macey said.
“Around two-thirds of consumers don't just think their local businesses adapted to COVID, they think they adapted well and there is an appreciation for that.”
Macey said the other factor driving support for Aussie business is a sense of pride.
“It’s been a year filled with uncertainty, and when there is a large amount of uncertainty you tend to hunker down a bit and bring in your horizons,” he said.
“Over the last year Australia has fared well when you compare it to other countries around the world - there is a bit of pride in that and it’s driving us to buy Aussie as well.”
Consumer insights - the numbers
Back to normal
More than 65 per cent of consumers expect spending on groceries, cafes, restaurants,
personal care, and hardware will return to pre-pandemic levels.
Over 40 per cent of consumers managed to cut their overall spending levels during the pandemic, while 39 per cent didn’t see any change, and 19 per cent increased their spending. Just under half (44 per cent) of those who spent less, expect to continue to do so during 2021.
More than 55 per cent of those who spent more time reading and listening to podcasts say they will continue to do so. 56 per cent of those who spent more time with their partners or children say they will retain this habit, and 53 per cent of those who cooked more at home intend to continue to do so instead of dining out.
Mobile wallet use rising
The majority of consumers reported using cash less frequently than before the pandemic. 39 per cent of those who use a mobile wallet such as Apple Pay report doing so more frequently, with Gen Z and Gen Y driving the adoption of mobile wallets.