Consumers are ever more so increasing their support for locally owned and operated stores and producers, particularly in the food, skincare and homewares sectors, an American Express survey revealed.

The Future of Consumer Spending survey found that many Australians are looking to create tangible, meaningful relationships with local retailers and deem face-to-face interaction essential to their shopping experience.

When asked what they expected of a brand, 67 per cent of Australian consumers responded ‘trustworthy’ with ‘responsible’ the second highest rating at 52 per cent, followed by ‘ethical’ at 35 per cent and ‘environmentally friendly’ at 33 per cent.

When asked about their spending, half of all Australian consumers said they felt compelled to support their local economy and 48 per cent said they bought more local goods compared to a year ago.

Jason Fryer, head of small business services at American Express, said the desire to shop locally is because people are looking to increase their sense of community and belonging.

“This provides a fantastic opportunity for local retailers and suppliers to show customers how much more rewarding face-to-face shopping can be. Australians may be thinking globally; but they are increasingly shopping locally,” he said.

“Small businesses are well placed to benefit from this approach as they are likely to be well-connected with local community-minded consumers, allowing them to respond to their preferences.”

According to Fryer, there are a number of ways in which small businesses can tap into the more locally-minded consumer, including providing personalised service, finding out how the business can become part of community initiative and identifying ways to engage with the local community.