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Australia, get set for a small business resurgence this summer

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Joseph Lyons

Nov 22, 2021

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just over a month away. And after the year that’s been, many of us are in need of a well-earned celebration – none more so than Australian small business owners. Since the pandemic’s arrival, they’ve faced all kinds of challenges, from shifting lockdowns and supply chain struggles to border closures and capacity limits. This means that more than ever, the small business community needs our support. And what better time to show it than the festive season? 

To learn how Aussies are planning to splurge this summer, we surveyed 1,000 consumers about their purchase intentions and behaviours, as well as their attitudes towards supporting small businesses in the months ahead. One of the key – and most heartening – insights from our Summer Resurgence research reveals more than four in five consumers (83 percent) are eager to purchase Christmas gifts from small businesses where they can. Compare this to our results from last year, and that’s almost twice as many shoppers looking to support small in 2021. So, what are the most sought-after items on our Christmas wish lists this year? And with supply chain delays causing logistical headaches, will we be spending in-store or online? Read on to find out. 

Gifting generously this silly season 

For nearly two years now, pandemic restrictions have seen many Australian families unable to spend quality time together. But Christmas is shaping up to be a different story this year. With a national reopening comes eased restrictions and some open borders, and according to our research, consumers are looking to celebrate by spoiling their loved ones come 25 December. 

The Summer Resurgence survey reveals almost a third (30 percent) of Australians will trump their 2020 gifting efforts, as one in five (21 percent) plan to spend a little more this year, while one in 10 (9 percent) will spend a lot more. And what kind of gifts will we find under the Christmas tree? Expect clothing, vouchers and toys – the top three gift choices in 2021. 

Generation X is set to lead the shopping spree, with one in four (26 percent) looking to spend between $500 to $1,000, followed closely by Millennials (20 percent) intending to do the same. And the most frugal of the bunch? Baby boomers, with most (23 percent) looking to spend between $300 to $500. 

Hitting the streets in search of connection 

It’s no surprise that ecommerce has become a big (or even bigger) platform since COVID-19 forced many shopfronts to hibernate during shifting lockdowns. And with heightened demand for online shopping, global supply chains – including shipping and courier services – have faced significant disruptions. 

In the lead up to Christmas, the Summer Resurgence survey indicates that consumers aren’t taking any risks when it comes to shipping timeframes. In fact, almost two-thirds of Australians are planning to hit their local high streets and town centres for some in-store splurging – and, of course, to share in the festive spirit. 

Shopping in-person isn’t just for the sake of organisation this year; it’s sentimental too. And that counts for consumers and small business owners alike. For Leah Kress, owner of The Corner Booth concept store in Sydney’s Annandale village, reconnecting with her community is what she’s looking forward to most. “It’s been a challenging few months, but what’s kept me going was the support from my local customers who dropped off coffee, food and plants, and reached out to say, ‘you’re doing an amazing job.’ That’s what really got me through the tough times,” she says. 

Supporting small businesses throughout 2022 

Looking ahead to brighter (and warmer) days, we can expect to see our post-lockdown spirit translate to spending where it counts. The Summer Resurgence survey findings reveal more than two-thirds (71 percent) of consumers will make a conscious effort to support small businesses well into 2022, from dining out to domestic travel and new outfits to pampering appointments. 

Exploring Australia’s own backyard is top of our bucket lists now that most states have committed to reopening borders for travellers. A local escape or regional road trip is the most popular option for over a third (36 percent) of holidaymakers, followed by travelling interstate (29 percent). And the best part? Nearly half (43 percent) of those planning a getaway said supporting small businesses will be a major part of their trip. 

Whether you’re splashing cash or taking a more considered approach to spending this summer, it’s safe to say that our small business community needs all the support it can get after a challenging run. So let’s all fill our stockings, pile up presents under the tree, and get behind our small businesses this silly season and beyond.

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