Have you been supporting your local businesses? We most certainly have. We buy vegetables from our local fruit and vegetable stand. When we order dinner, we make an effort to order from our local restaurants as well. As entrepreneurs, we know how important it is to support each other – especially during COVID-19.

A new survey from Interac Corp. reveals Canadians are eager to support businesses in their own backyards. Three-quart­ers of Canadians (75 per cent) said the pandemic has made shopping and supporting businesses in their community more important, and more than half of Canadians (55 per cent) say their desire to support local businesses is causing them to shift their spending by shopping closer to home. The shift to remote work, coupled with the desire to shop locally, may be lasting trends that will positively impact local business recovery post-pandemic.

Shopping local isn’t just lip service or a matter of convenience. Canadians are willing to take additional steps to support local. Close to half of Canadians (48 per cent) are willing to wait longer for delivery or pickup. Fifty per cent are willing to pay up to five dollars more and 31 per cent up to 10 dollars more for the same product, if needed, to support local businesses instead of purchasing from major online retailers.

Sixty-six per cent of Canadians said businesses that fail to adapt to allow digital payments will struggle. This demand is reflected in a 333 per cent year-over-year increase in Interac Debit payments made within a merchant app or website1, and a 113 per cent year-over-year increase in Interac e-Transfer transactions being received by businesses across Canada since the pandemic began2. The increase in business-related transactions contributed to the overall growth of the platform, where over 832.7 million Interac e-Transfer transactions were sent since the beginning of April 2020, a 52 per cent year-over-year increase3.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Local during lockdown – Even during periods when stay-at-home orders were in effect, 64 per cent of Canadians looked to support their local businesses
  • Bricks and mortar remain important – 66 per cent of Canadians said they are willing to visit a store (curbside or instore) to buy from local businesses instead of purchasing online
  • Digital payments – 52 per cent of Canadians say they are just as comfortable paying a small business by Interac e-Transfer as by other payment methods
  • Businesses offer new solutions – Alberta businesses have seen a 228 per cent year-over-year increase in volume of received Interac e-Transfer transactions
  • Pandemic impact – 90 per cent of Ontarians think local businesses in their province have been particularly impacted by the pandemic
  • Loyal to local – Quebecers are the most loyal with 61 per cent saying they shop local because they want to support small businesses
  • Communities matter – 78 per cent of British Columbians believe local businesses are more important to communities than major online retailers