5 Reasons To Shop Local
When it's time to make a list and check it twice, online shopping and big box stores offer a convenient way to play Santa.
But predicted shipping delays, concerns about crowded stores, and shipping fees for delivery and returns may make these convenient options less appealing this year.
Fortunately, shopping at small local businesses can solve these problems -- while offering you more original gifts, a safer shopping experience, and the joy of giving back to your community.
With the holiday season right around the corner, here are five reasons to shop small this year.
1. Health and safety concerns
Shopping local doesn't necessarily mean you have to go inside the store. Smaller retailers are increasingly offering online shopping options1 -- often with curbside pickup.
With local curbside pickup, you get all the benefits of online shopping without having to worry about packages being delays, lost, or stolen.
If you prefer to shop in-person, smaller, locally-owned stores tend to be far less crowded than big box stores and may be taking more safety precautions. Worried about the safety of paying for your items? From tap-to-pay debit cards to mobile wallets, retailers are increasingly moving toward some form of contactless payment system.
2. Prompt and reliable access to merchandise
With holiday online shopping forecast to increase 25% to 35%2 compared to 2019, experts are predicting shipping delays for the holiday season.3 The Wall Street Journal reports that the 2020 holiday shipping capacity of UPS and FedEx is mostly already spoken for,4 leaving little wiggle room in the system for a shopping surge.
In other words, demand for shipping in the months before the holidays is expected to outstrip supply -- leading to the potential for late arrival of packages.
When you shop locally, you get prompt and reliable access to your merchandise quickly -- either through shopping in-person or shopping online and doing curbside pickup.
3. Save on delivery and return costs
Given the forecasted holiday shipping crunch and a corresponding bump up in delivery fees to retailers, don't be surprised if you see an uptick in shipping costs at some online stores this holiday season. And if you don't manage to snag free shipping, this hidden cost of online shopping can really add up. If you have to pay for return shipping, costs can go even higher. By shopping locally, you avoid delivery and return costs.
4. Help keep your local retailers thriving
It's no secret that many local retailers are struggling. Many small businesses were already financially fragile before the pandemic started. By late March 2020, just a few weeks into the pandemic, the average small businesses with more than $10,000 in monthly expenses reported having just two weeks of cash on hand.5
Shopping at local-owned businesses is a great way to support your community. Spending at least some of your holiday money locally helps to keep these beloved community stores open for the long haul.
Shopping local doesn't just benefit your local store owners and employees -- it benefits the whole community. That's because of what's called the "multiplier effect," which means that the money you spend locally stays in the community. In fact, one study found 48% of the amount of a local purchase gets recirculated nearby6 compared to 14% of the purchase price of an item bought in a chain store -- and even less with online shopping.
5. Shopping local can be more fun
While this holiday season is sure to be unlike any others, you can bring some of the magic alive by heading to your local stores. Instead of spending even more time staring at the computer screen, browse local boutiques and enjoy the twinkling lights. And with local business owners spending months carefully curating a line of creative holiday gifts, you're sure to find more interesting decorations and presents than at a big box retailer.
Top off your shopping adventure with to-go cup of peppermint hot cocoa to go from the corner cafe before heading home to put on some carols and wrap your presents.
If you'd like to get more information on our credit or debit cards, stop by a local branch or give us a call at 1-888-SYNOVUS (1-888-796-6887). We're happy to help as you enjoy the season.
Important Disclosure Information
This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.
- Kelly Tyko, "Small-business owners add curbside pickup, FaceTime virtual shopping, online sales to compete this holiday season," USA Today, updated October 15, 2020, accessed October 28, 2020. Back
- Pamela N. Danziger, "E-Commerce Sales Will Explode This Holiday Season, Putting Retailers' Online Strategies To The Test," Forbes, published September 27, 2020, accessed October 28, 2020. Back
- Haley Messenger, "FedEx, UPS face 'shipageddon' with potential shortfall of 7 million packages a day over holiday season," NBC News, published October 20, 2020, accessed October 28, 2020. Back
- Paul Ziobro, "Holiday Crunch Starts Early With More Packages Than Means to Deliver Them ," The Wall Street Journal, updated October 19, 2020, accessed October 28, 2020. Back
- Alexander W. Bartik, Marianne Bertrand, Zoe Cullen, Edward L. Glaeser, Michael Luca, and Christopher Stanton, "The impact of COVID-19 on small business outcomes and expectations ," PNAS, published July 28, 2020, accessed October 28, 2020. Back
- Nemi Boyo, "How buying local creates jobs and prosperity," Be Local, published July 6, 2016, accessed October 28, 2020. Back
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