Most readers – five in six readers – try to support local businesses, big and small, where possible.
Even in categories dominated by large national brands, such as supermarkets and groceries, shoppers prefer to shop at a store or brand in their area. Four out of five readers prefer to buy groceries from their local supermarket, and three out of five prefer a local bank.
Community newspapers give national advertisers a chance to leverage their advertising on TV and in newspapers by providing the local connection, and making sure readers know how close the nearest shops and branches are.
For local businesses the story is slightly different.
Readers also strongly prefer staying local for health care products (75%) and health services (63%). Most visits to the local GP or pharmacy are for minor ailments that don’t require specialist treatment. Being close is a significant competitive advantage in these cases, and community newspapers make it easy to inform and remind readers where to find their local health providers.
Self-employed and small businesses such as tradies (painters, gardeners) and personal grooming (hair dressers, manicurists) rate highly on the “local preference” dimension, as do local eateries (restaurants and cafes). It’s rare that these businesses have a clear competitive advantage, and buyers often start with the ones they see advertised in their community newspaper.
The categories where readers are least likely to strongly prefer shopping locally are those with more options to choose from, and less likely to found in most communities.
Even then a substantial percentage of readers still prefer to shop locally: 35 per cent for clothing and fashion, 32 per cent for entertainment, and 26 per cent for home furnishings.
In these cases community newspapers play a slightly different role. The local newspaper still serves to remind readers in their immediate area, but advertisers can also benefit by advertising in other local newspapers in their catchment area, attracting shoppers from neighbouring suburbs.