It’s official, half of UK shoppers prefer to buy local!

According to IRI’s latest European Shopper Insights Survey 55% of UK consumers prefer to buy local brands to help support local and small retailers. Other reasons for buying local brands include better quality (46%) because products taste better (33%) and environmental reasons such as less pollution from traffic.

What are they likely to buy?

The survey found UK shoppers are most likely to buy fresh food locally including milk, eggs, yogurt and cheeses. Olly Abotorabi, senior research insights manager at IRI said ‘Consumers are increasingly aware of the fact that food grown closer to home means fewer carbon emissions, will be fresher and supports the local economy. In the UK we have a vibrant and innovative ‘local scene’ where challenger brands are emerging as winners driven by huge amounts of creativity and a desire for authenticity and provenance’.

So what’s holding them back?

When UK shoppers were asked why they do not buy local brands, price is a major issue, with a third saying it is because local brands are more expensive than big brands. Shoppers also have concerns about lack of availability and limited assortment, with 39% not able to find the product they want, and 24% saying they would need to go to other stores to buy them.

Jackie Mulligan, Founder of www.shopappy.com commented that the price issue is often a perception and not reality. Shopappy allows you to see all your local shops in one place and often customers are surprised at the value they get from local shops. “There is a shop that charges more on one of the big online retail sites than they do in their own store and on ShopAppy because of the commissions. They sell lots online through the online site because the perception is that customers are getting a better deal. In reality they are not and they are surprised customers just pay more”.

How does age affect shopping habits?

Although older shoppers show a preference for buying local only, it is young millennials aged 18-24 who are more inclined to buy international brands, which they perceive to be more innovative and affordable. More than 50% of shoppers in this group prefer to buy big brands, with the exception of fresh food. So shopping local for food could be a major growth area for high streets.

How does the future look?

With Tesco reporting that it is to ditch the deli counters in many of its stores, does this offer an opportunity for local retailers? There is certainly and appetite for shopping local in the UK and local retailers need to listen to the findings of research to improve on their offer and capitalise to the national mood of shopping local, improving the environment and boosting our local communities. One key way of course is joining ShopAppy to make it even easier for customers to support local.

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