Leading players in Scotland’s retail, tourism and travel sectors are all urging the nation’s shoppers to think local first.
VisitScotland, the Scottish Grocers Federation, Federation of Small Businesses and cycling charity Sustrans are all supporters of the Scotland Loves Local campaign.
Spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership with the support of the Scottish Government, the campaign urges everyone to (safely) turn their local high streets and town centres for all of their shopping and service needs wherever possible to help fuel the nation’s financial fightback from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Vicki Miller, director of marketing at VisitScotland, said: “Supporting local businesses is more important than ever.
“Retail tourism is extremely important to the Scottish economy. Of the 15 million overnight trips by domestic and international visitors to Scotland, 44 per cent go shopping as an activity which contributes around £1 billion per annum to the tourism economy – half of that spend coming from UK residents visiting Scotland.
“For UK consumers, more than half (55%) prefer to buy local brands to help support local and small producers, according to IRI’s latest European Shopper Insights Survey. Other reasons for buying local brands include better quality (46%) and because products taste better (33%).”
Dr Pete Cheema, chief executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation, has highlighted the pivotal part that convenience stores have played in helping communities cope with the consequences of the pandemic.
He said: “Convenience stores effectively minimised the impact of panic buying and empty shelves. Customers have embraced shopping locally and the sector has captured 30 per cent of the overall grocery market, with sales increasing by up to 60 per cent. Being close to their customers – about 70 per cent of customers say they know their local retailer well enough to have a chat with them – meant that convenience stores could easily identify customers who had become vulnerable or who were at risk.
“Stores then put a massive effort into delivering essential products to these customers.
“People in Scotland have embraced local. But we cannot take it for granted that they will stay there. We need strong and consistent messages about the importance of local and, crucially, we need to show people that local services, businesses, and agencies are responsive to their needs and have adapted to the post-Covid landscape.”
Andrew McRae, policy chair at FSB Scotland, believes Scotland Loves Local is a timely reminder for people to show their support for the businesses around them.
“There are so many fantastic independent businesses that populate Scotland’s high streets and town centres,” he said.
“If we want to continue to experience the great and unique products and services that our local businesses provide then now is the time that we need to get out there, show them some love, and support them in any way we can. Thriving high streets and town centres provide us with a unique experience and are key to our communities. Shopping local will ensure that we retain that special experience we get visiting independents that cannot be recreated elsewhere.”
Sustrans Scotland is supporting efforts nationally to help people walk, wheel or cycle to work as part of the national recovery from the pandemic.
Communications Officer Ad Leeks said: “We’re partnering with local authorities throughout Scotland to deliver on the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People programme. Well under way, this programme is delivering sweeping temporary changes that will make it far easier and safer for people to get around their local areas, and Scotland Loves Local is an important part of that.”
For more details about Scotland Loves Local, go to www.lovelocal.scot and follow the hashtag #ScotlandLovesLocal on social media.