Australian Made: The pandemic has reignited the shop local movement

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 27 May 2020
Aussie Made:The kids don't care.

The digital age and acceleration of globalisation over the last two decades has offered consumers convenience and greater choice.

Conversely, many local brands have taken a hit as international competition ramps up - until now that is.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused strife among the world’s economies, it has also revived the shop local movement as Australians begin to opt for local products and experiences.

The movement had already started to gain momentum throughout the drought and bushfire season with grassroots campaigns like Buy From the Bush and Empty Esky encouraging Australians to spend with regional brands.

Now it’s gaining greater traction as borders remain closed and industries band together to encourage consumer spending.

Nielsen’s Connect managing director Bernie Hughes says there are six consumer themes that the research firm believes will play out in Australia over the coming months and maybe even years.

“We think consumers will be more aware and wary of products from overseas production,” Hughes says.

“Shoppers increasingly want to understand the supply chain and we will see a preference for ‘Australian Made’ or ‘Locally Made’ as we seek to support our local economy and job creation.”


Industries like fashion and hospitality have been jumping on the bandwagon with initiatives encouraging Australians to back local business.

The We Wear Australian initiative, led by Morrison and Showroom-X founder Richard Poulson with the support of industry associations, was kicked off to drive awareness and sales to Australian designers’ eCommerce sites.

Brands, influencers and consumers have all jumped on the initiative, with the #WeWearAustralian hashtag added to thousands of posts across Instagram showing support for local designers.

Similarly, Campari Australia in partnership with Eleven, Apparent and Wavemaker, launched a national COVID-19 response initiative, Shaken Not Broken, to support the Australian hospitality industry.

The initiative was developed to support neighbourhood bars and venues as they adapt and stay connected to their communities, by facilitating access to a bottled cocktail delivery or pick-up service via a partnership with online ordering platform HungryHungry.

Since launch, more than 200 venues have registered for the initiative’s Response Package, which includes donated Campari Group product, cocktail delivery supplies and marketing tools to help drive widespread awareness about venues’ individual contactless cocktail offering.

“Our hope is this will help venues create a new revenue stream that will go some way to ensuring they can come out on the other side," Campari group marketing director Australia and New Zealand Nicole Stanners says.

According to data from Nielsen, these local initiatives are gaining traction with Hughes telling AdNews there is a clear movement to Australians’ shopping at ‘local’ stores.

Major retailers, for example, have lost share in the most recent weeks to independent and specialty grocery outlets such as butchers, bakeries and fruit and vegetable stores.

“As FMCG manufacturers and retailers reflect, rebuild and reconsider the orientation of their businesses and brands for the future, they will need to predicate their ecosystems and strategies upon a deep understanding of what consumers have endured and how they will emerge,” Hughes says.

“We should expect - and are already seeing - changes in the way people shop at their local supermarkets. Naturally, they will gravitate toward value offerings as they shop during tougher economic times.

“But they’re also gravitating to brands they know and trust. The brands caught in the middle may not be so lucky. Ensuring on shelf availability is critical, so too is pricing. Expect those two elements alone to need constant optimisation.”

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