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Social Trend Series: Support Your Local SMEs

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

New Zealanders have always been pretty good when it comes to supporting our local businesses, but there was a huge increase and emphasis on the sentiment of supporting small businesses when Covid hit our shores. Facebook pages dedicated to supporting these businesses started to pop up left, right and centre (and rightly so). Chooice, a Facebook Community Group which was birthed during the first lockdown in NZ, is a page specifically for local start up businesses to share their crafts and products, and has grown to now host half a million members.

We also know the conversation of "Support your local" has been trending since our very first lockdown, with many derivative hashtags popping in and out of trend across most Social platforms. Over on Instagram, we've seen users sharing their “Top 5 local restaurants to eat at” or “Top 5 NZ designers” on their stories - promoting their favourite locals through word of mouth.

Yet despite this continued sentiment, national and global business statistics are questioning whether these online trends are really having enough of an impact on our spending behaviour to save our SMEs.

Our small businesses account for 28% of employment and contribute over a quarter of New Zealand's gross domestic product (GDP). They truly are an integral part of our economy, and we know throughout the nationwide lockdown, and second Auckland lockdown, many of them have taken massive financial hits.

According to data released by Xero June this year; year-on-year revenue for small businesses fell by 10% in March and 34% by April, and this sector also saw a loss of around 24,000 individual jobs in the first lockdown alone.

In contrast to this, many global giants have seen massive growth during the pandemic. For example online e-commerce giant, Amazon, has had a whopping year, with a $570 billion increase in valuation since the start of the year and an over 60% increase in stock. Billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have seen a wealth gain of $46.5 Billion and $68.2 Billion respectively since the start of the pandemic (source).

So what does all this mean?

Trending conversations and hashtags indicate there is a huge appetite for the sentiment of supporting our local economies and reviving our small business sector. However, the reality is that consumers will still choose to spend their money on the brands that are easily accessible and top of mind.

What our small businesses really need is to future-proof through digital enablement. Ensuring your digital purchasing journeys are a seamless and friendly customer experience is absolutely vital for survival in a world dealing with a pandemic. Equally as important, is to establish and implement an effective digital marketing strategy to make sure you can generate traffic and entice potential customers.

Now - more than ever - it is crucial to rebuild our economy through the support of small businesses and ensure we are buying from our local communities. Pay attention to brands in your area that are doing it well, ask around and share your recommendations with friends and family, and follow through with the #SupportYourLocal movement by committing to buying Kiwi whenever you can.

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