While most of us have heard by now that we need to shop more from Australian businesses, many of us don’t know exactly why that is. Or even what the current situation is. Are we doing so now?
Unsurprisingly, when it comes to Australian businesses and our relationship with them, a lot changed during and since the pandemic – in a good way. Many small businesses still able to trade, and have even developed new relationships with new customers who might not have supported them previously, explains Jenn Donovan, founder of Spend With Us, an online platform where you can shop Australian-made clothes, homewares and food and drink.
“This support was a trend most definitely seen in rural and remote areas,” says Donovan. “Consumers who had previously travelled ‘out of town’ for shopping were literally forced to source their ‘shopping’ more locally as they weren’t allowed to travel. Businesses are built on relationships, therefore, those who were able to develop them are still reaping the rewards.”
Right now, we’re seeing the rise of the conscious consumer who not only wants to support small and shop local, but, where possible, also support Australian-made, says Donovan.
“Again, this boost in the attraction of buying locally-made goods is the result of the pandemic, resulting in international border closures and restrictions on travel,” she adds.
So, what are the reasons we should buy more from Australian businesses? Donovan shares three below.
Keeps the Money in the Local Australian Economy
Research shows that for every $100 spent locally, $83 is likely to stay in that economy. Imagine what this could do from a rural perspective with the bushfires, droughts and other adversities suffered throughout the past two-to-three years, Donovan says.
“Keeping our money here, our profits and taxes will help balance our budget and provide much-needed services to Australians of all walks of life,” she explains. “Not only is it essential for the local Australian economy to keep our money here, but it’s also important for future-proofing these daily services we use – roads, hospitals, technology, etc.”
Retail contributes to over $329 billion to the Australian economy, so keeping the retail section on a growth trajectory is vital for our economy, Donovan says.
Helps Create Jobs in Australia
By buying from Australian businesses, you’re also helping to create more jobs in Australia. Donovan explains that for several decades now — as Australia’s economy in general has grown — the country has developed two different sub-economies: one in metropolitan areas and another in regional and rural areas.
“While agricultural jobs were traditionally the most common in rural areas, they have steadily declined since the mid-20th century,” says Donovan. “Today, the most prominent examples of employment in rural areas are in the educational services, manufacturing and retail sales industries.”
Better for the Planet
Creating less offshore shipping offers a whole host of benefits to our economy and environment, says Donovan.
“The paddock-to-plate movement, where consumers became very aware of the ‘paddock miles’ of their food, has now turned to the retail side of the business,” she says. “As a result, consumers are now more conscious of slow fashion, fashion miles and landfills.”
She says while many consumers do, of course, still decide their purchases based on price, for many others now, it’s about quality over quantity and understanding their purchases’ impact on the economy and environment.
“Not only do cargo ships produce ‘black carbon’ from their marine fuel, but they also add to air pollution, noise pollution and oil pollution, to point out just a few ways they threaten the marine environments they sail over,” says Donovan.