As shoppers returned and travel restrictions were lifted in early 2020, businesses around Australia were reporting some of the best figures they had seen in a long time.
In figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released earlier this year, retail turnover in February 2021 was 8.7 per cent higher than in February 2020, prior to the pandemic reaching our shores.
According to Ben James, director of quarterly economy wide surveys at the ABS, the improvement was felt across the board, with food retailing leading the rise.
"All industries except department stores rose, with similar rises for cafes, restaurants, takeaway food services, household goods retailing and other retailing."
Furthermore, when Australians are opening their wallets to spend at local businesses, they are more likely to pay for an item that has the green and gold kangaroo logo, according to research from Roy Morgan.
Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan said consumers preferred products made locally.
"Australian-made products have experienced a surge in support during 2020 with a large majority of 93 per cent of Australians more likely to buy a product that is 'made in Australia', up 6 per cent points from 2019," she said.
"The closure of international borders and restrictions on travel around the world appears to have helped increase support for Australian-made goods at the expense of overseas products."
Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are the generations that most preferred Australian-made products, however support was high across all age groups.
Australian Made chief executive, Ben Lazzaro noted that when consumers purchase products made locally, their money goes back into their local communities.
"When you buy Australian Made, Australian Grown products, you know what you are getting - products made to the highest of manufacturing standards and grown in our clean, green environment. At the same time, you are helping to support our manufacturing industry, create Aussie jobs and give back to local communities," he said.
Research from Roy Morgan found that if every household spent an extra $10 a week on locally made products, it would inject an extra $5 billion into the Australian economy, creating up to 11,000 jobs.
As restrictions tighten across greater Sydney and regions such as our own look towards a school holidays with limited numbers of visitors again, it's as important as ever that local businesses get the support that they need.
In this special edition we hear from a wide range of businesses across the Shoalhaven and how money spent with them goes back into the local community, whether through supporting local jobs, trainees and apprentices, sourcing local ingredients and supplies or through donations to community organisations and sporting clubs.
Read their stories here: https://specialpubs.austcommunitymedia.com.au/e-oo/2021/SNWP/0625_01/.