As a follow-up to B.C. Buy Local Week each year, we survey independent businesses to understand the effectiveness of buy local campaigns, and uncover the biggest policy issues affecting them. Here are the highlights:
- Many businesses see benefits: 54% of businesses report a positive impact from buy local campaigns in their area. Specifically, businesses report that the top five benefits are: 1) awareness of the impact of their own local purchasing, 2) municipal government awareness of the importance of local businesses, 3) collaboration with other local businesses, 4) increased media coverage, and 5) attracting new customers to their businesses.
- Engagement is moderate: only 19% of businesses are active promoters of the campaign; 52% are promoted through a business group they are part of but don't go out of their way to promote it.
- Public awareness is up: 45% report that public awareness of the importance of buying local has increased this year.
- Co-ordination is needed: buy local campaign managers have work to do to coordinate messaging and engage businesses to actively participate in the campaign. Only 54% of businesses could name the campaign in their area, 17% didn't know the name, and 27% didn't respond to the question.
- Public policy issues affecting business: besides the supply chain and labour issues that continue to affect businesses in 2021, businesses report that commercial affordability, permit/license fees, credit card fees, provincial taxes, and community development are the top five issues affecting businesses. Respondents were heavily weighted in the lower mainland.