Research released by Local Enterprise Offices has shown that 66 percent of Irish consumers bought goods or services locally, to support their local economy, as a result of seeing or hearing the ‘Look for Local’ campaign or similar shop local themed campaigns this past summer.
The results also showed that 75 percent of adults are now more inclined to shop for local businesses online since 91 percent believe there are now more local Irish businesses online than ever before.
In 2020, Local Enterprise Offices nationally approved over 13,000 Trading Online Vouchers which enabled small businesses to set up an online trading presence. This was up over 950 percent from the year previous (1,218) and helped small businesses to keep the virtual doors open, when physical ones were shut.
Those surveyed also showed an understanding of the benefits of spending in your community or town with the research highlighting they “strongly agreed” that looking for local is beneficial to the economy and jobs and also have a positive environmental impact.
The Look for Local campaign was launched earlier this summer by Local Enterprise Office Roscommon, funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and supported by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities.
The campaign involved national and local advertising and promotion across the summer encouraging consumers to look for local when purchasing products, services or experiences.
It saw over 4,500 local businesses listed on the Look for Local hub on the Local Enterprise Office website that consumers could access and browse to see what was available in their area.
Minister for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English said: “Across the summer we saw thousands of Irish businesses reopening their doors, many for the first time since the pandemic began.
“This would have been a very exciting but anxious time for them as they recommenced trading to the public. This research shows that the Irish public responded to the ‘Look for Local’ call by the Local Enterprise Office Network and supported their own when they needed it the most.
“We have worked closely with Enterprise Offices across the past 18 months to sustain businesses, help them upskill, get online and in some cases pivot as we adapt to new ways of trading we will continue to support these small businesses that are the life blood of communities across the country”.
Louise Ward of Roscommon LEO said: “The Look for Local campaign was an opportunity for the Local Enterprise Office to show support to all those small businesses in Roscommon as they reopened and encourage consumers to do the same. To see that people intentionally spent with our local businesses this summer is fantastic, but it also shows that consumers believed in the quality of product, service and experience they were getting on their own doorstep.
“As was outlined during the campaign, every euro that is spent locally here in County Roscommon is an investment in our community and that money has a knock-on effect through the county. Consumers now understand that spending locally will positively impact the economy and jobs in their area and going forward for small businesses there is a big opportunity to capitalise on that sentiment”.
The survey by GroupM Research, sampled over 700 Irish consumers, and highlights how Irish consumers were keen to support their own local businesses as the country reopened across the summer.
In addition to the Trading Online Vouchers the Local Enterprise Office continues to work with small businesses across the country with training, mentoring, sector and issue specific consultancy and financial supports to help them start up and grow as the country reopens fully.
For more information on Look for Local go to www.LocalEnterprise.ie/LookForLocal and support Look for Local online using the hashtag #LookForLocal.