The pandemic has heightened the love for local. What does this mean for products and brands? Hint: it’s definitely a trend worth paying attention to.
By PLAY Market Research General Manager Natalie Baker
Local love is in the air. The movement to support Aussie businesses kicked off after the devastating bushfires last summer and has continued to gain traction throughout the pandemic, building on a widespread sentiment that has been present for some time.
Historically, the ‘made in Australia’ claim has performed consistently well across consumer studies and has alluded to higher quality goods. But as we know, what consumers claim in a survey doesn’t always to translate into real life behaviour. More often than not, money talks at the shelf, with Australian made products often overlooked in favour of cheaper alternatives.
Today, we see ourselves in a fundamentally different context when considering Australian made products. Since the devastation of the drought and then the 2019 bushfires, local groups fuelled by a newfound patriotism and spread by slick social media engines have sprung up to support ‘local’ and ‘Aussie made’ products and producers. With communities banding together more than ever, it’s little surprise that this wave of support has grown during the coronavirus shutdowns. In fact, people power regarding supporting local producers has become so strong that consumer demand is putting pressure on retailers to make locally made products more prominent.
Clamour for ‘Australian made’
When Google searches for a topic spike, you know that consumer interest is growing. After a five-year flatline trend of search history, this year the number of searches for ‘Australian made’ rose significantly, with peak popularity achieved in July, shortly after the launch of Buy Aussie Now, an online marketplace exclusively for Australian-made products.
The push for local, however, is multilayered: to support our owned and grown, but also to contend with fears of overseas product quality and growing concerns around environmental and economic sustainability.
The flurry of bulk buying at the beginning of the pandemic has helped to shift typical shopper behaviour, with scarcity forcing consumers to consider new brands and products. Data we gathered from almost 8000 Australians from our online panel shows an attitudinal skew to this conundrum, with younger groups more open to trialling and exploring new products, and older groups are more narrowly focused on prioritising Australian made products. In short, it’s a good time to be dialling up your Aussie made credentials.
How brands can cash in
From rethinking your manufacturing to your marketing, plenty of opportunities are available to communicate your support for local.
Support for Australia and Australians: Does your brand ‘give back’ in a way that is supporting local? If yes, make sure you talk about it! In-store activations and online channels are a great place to promote your good deeds.
Environmental and economic sustainability: How does your brand contribute to the local economy? Try to quantify how your brand delivers to an economic or environmental footprint and share these facts with your customers.
A new social consciousness: How are you tugging on the heartstrings of Australians? Your emotional alignment with the movement to ‘support local’ is just as important as the facts and figures that back it up.
Concern about export quality and safety: Are you reinforcing the quality credentials of your product? At a time when hygiene is top of mind, it pays to communicate your production safety measures. Better to be safe, right?
Are you ready to apply the ‘local’ trend?
You can grab a copy of our full report with insights here.
If you’re looking for cutting-edge research to help boost your local credentials, get in touch with the PLAY team for a free 30-minute session in which we’ll show you how we can bring this trend to life with your brand and your customers.
About Natalie Baker
Natalie is PLAY’s General Manager and Melbourne lead with more than 14 years’ experience in customer insights and research. She has worked with such companies as CUB and Kmart before PLAY lured her to the dark side (lucky for us).
As a passionate advocate for tackling strategic challenges differently, she thrives on unifying a business with consumer led insight.
Contact Natalie at playmr.com.au/contact for a (virtual) tour of our state-of-the-art facilities, to chat all things research, or just to say g’day.
About PLAY Market Research
PLAY is a boutique creative research agency that uses a proven approach to help you make your consumers’ lives better. With enough combined experience to warrant a letter from the Queen, our team thrives on uncovering meaningful insights that drive business growth. The place where creativity, passion, and innovation intersect? That’s where we PLAY.