By: Tebogo Mokwena
South Africans are increasingly recognising the importance of small businesses and why they should be supported, according to research released this week by insurance company Santam. The report also revealed that more people were forming relationships with small businesses compared to the years before the Covid-19 pandemic. The document titled “Most Loved Local 2022 Report” was commissioned by Santam and compiled by World Wide Worx, an independent technology market research organisation.
Its purpose was to survey the country’s most loved local businesses. It surveyed 2400 respondents from every province including areas like Soweto, Bloemfontein, Upington and Mbombela. The majority of the respondents were women. According to the findings, 95% of the respondents agreed that it was important to support local businesses. Arthur Goldstuck, CEO and founder of World Wide Worx, noted that this was probably due to the increase in awareness being made for small businesses after the pandemic.
The report also revealed that 39% of the respondents continued supporting small businesses as they did before the pandemic, and 14% had started looking for more local businesses to support. Goldstuck said that a third of the respondents noted that supporting local businesses had become a bigger priority. “Although support and awareness were high, behaviour – in terms of who they support – hasn’t changed,” he pointed out. The report also noted that half of the respondents developed a closer relationship with small businesses and realised how much they needed them.
It also revealed that young people were the most affected by the lockdown, resulting in greater support for small businesses from the youth. “Younger customers were the ones most heavily affected by the pandemic, and coming out of the various lockdown levels created a major shift in the perception of local businesses, indicated in their response to how they developed closer relationships with local businesses,” Goldstuck said. Furthermore, the report pointed out that many South Africans were developing an appetite for local businesses.
“Although people still like to follow global fashion, beauty and style trends, there is an opportunity for neighbourhood butcheries, restaurants, markets, stores and car washes to create a truly authentic local experience to attract and retain customers,” Goldstuck said. Santam’s Strategic Business Development Executive Head Gerald van Wyk said that this year’s report highlighted how consumers unanimously agreed that it was essential to support local businesses.
“It’s great to see this positive sentiment because small businesses continue to be crucial contributors to the country’s economic growth and recovery following a rough couple of years, and play a vital role in their communities,” he said.