The arrival of another Christmas season is a good time to review how and where we spend our consumer dollars.
While online shopping is fast, convenient and allows for quick price comparisons for the thrifty shopper, it often comes with hidden drawbacks, such as postage or delivery costs and the question as to whether goods will actually arrive in time for Christmas. Heading to the mall, for many, is about as appealing as taking a dip in the shark tank at Sydney Aquarium – and possibly less safe – but the advantage of finding everything under one tinsel-decked roof is undeniable.
Research is showing, however, that increasingly, shoppers are turning to their local high streets.
The economic benefits of shopping locally are well documented. While multi-national chains write their own rules and often have negative impacts far beyond the sight of the individual consumer, local businesses can generate wealth in ways that are both equitable and sustainable.
Research in 2010 found that for every hundred dollars spent in a local bookstore, $45 stayed in the local economy. Conversely, for every hundred spent at a chain bookstore, only $13 stayed in the local community. The key differences are that local shops are owned and managed locally, are more likely to use local banking, accounting and legal firms, and local suppliers. Small businesses create local jobs and this, in turn, puts more money back into the local economy.