Though Black Friday was already two weeks ago, for many retailers, it feels like we’ve only just begun.
December might as well be known as the shopping month. Between all the holidays, New Years, New Years resolutions and general festivities, it seems like it never ends. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spent $579 billion during the holidays, up from $560 billion the year before. Much of this money goes into the hands of hard working local businesses, but the greatest portion of it goes to national retailers such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Amazon.
Though you might think buying gifts is an important part of the holidays, it is more than likely a lot more important for the small businesses who look forward to the month of December all year long.
Here are a few reasons to shop locally during the holidays:
Local businesses depend on it
As big businesses get bigger and bigger, small businesses have had to rely on months like this to stay afloat. For some retailers, the holiday season can represent as much as 20-40 percent of annual sales. That means if you buy that book from Amazon instead of a local bookstore, you are directly contributing to their lower sales. That few dollars you save at Amazon might help you a little, but the local purchase helps that bookstore a lot more.
Shopping locally increases the tax base
Especially if you are invested in the community, both financially and physically, you should make it a point to shop locally as much as you can. Every tax dollar helps out your local economy; it provides jobs, helps build infrastructure, helps the school system and contributes to public areas of need, to name a few benefits. You don’t get that if you buy something online.
Local business offer unique gift selections
You would be amazed at what you can find at a local shop. Not only do local shops offer more unique selection that big retailers, but they can also be more fun. Everyone wants cool gadgets, but those aren’t nearly as memorable as something that actually fits your personality. You also reduce the likelihood of a duplicate gift. By shopping locally, you are much more likely to unearth a hidden gem. Many products are made to order and show how thoughtful you really are.
Shopping locally encourages community growth
A good potential small business owner will look at market trends before he or she opens up a shop. No one’s going to open up a business in a city that doesn’t have the retail base. On the flip side, retailers will be fighting to open up a shop if they see that the area is doing well. Shopping locally encourages community growth through a number of means, both directly and indirectly. For instance, if a local retailer in Metairie makes a profit, they will probably put it into one of the Metairie Banks, which will also help their bottom line while helping the community as a whole.
The best thing about buying locally is that you can have a good time doing it. Find a commercial street, take an afternoon off and treat yourself to everything that your city has to offer. You’ll be happy you did.
This guest post was written by Patrick Rafferty in association with Hibernia Bank. The views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of any financial institution or bank. This article is intended to provide those reading it with information about matters of current interest. It should not be construed as legal or financial advice concerning a specific topic and should not be acted upon without contacting the appropriate professionals.