In the face of economic crisis in the Eurozone, ‘Local Preference’ is a trend simply bound to be boosted. We can see a metaphor in all those individual European electorates who are calling on their political leaderships to intervene to protect national interests (and worry less about the sensitivities of other nation states). And while many consumers might naturally presume in favour of goods that are locally produced, the Eurozone Crisis induces sharp new feelings of consumer-citizen solidarity. It might even be thought something of a duty now to buy food from local farmers, fashion from Italian/Spanish... designers, a holiday which does not involve the use of a passport. Perhaps the trend will even bring benefits to local family firms at the cost of globally branded suppliers.
We thus expect the invitation to support national producers to likely be received favourably by many. In turn, we anticipate seeing a number of campaigns which highlight the role played by local and / or national producers as brands seek to appeal. At any rate, the claim that “this is local” or “this is Greek/Portuguese...” is bound to resonate down through the crisis, for as long as it lasts.
Indeed, our nVision Research confirms this. For 2 in 5 British and German consumers - and over half of consumers in France and Spain - a product of national origin will at first evoke a sense that it is something they should purchase for the good of the national economy (before any thought to national pride, reliability, quality, value for money...). One of our French trend spotters, a man aged 30, affirms, “Many parties wish to privilege French production, the ‘Made in France’. I have noticed in supermarkets new boards with French flags so as to indicate where the products come from”.
The local too can be a quality which induces consumers to purchase. Among Italians, half say that a product of national origin makes them more likely to purchase said product - with 46% of the Spanish agreeing they are more likely to buy local goods.
Naturally, though, while many consumers might wish to buy local products, they will - most especially in financially sensitive times - still see the most obvious attraction in products which deliver value for money; the cutthroat but un-local deal will, after all, hold serious appeal. Many will thus reject the idea of paying more for locally or nationally produced items. But those offers which marry local credentials with an attractive price can be expected to earn the warmest reception.
It is indeed a fine line brands must walk, as consumers battle between price and provenance in these crisis years. by James Murphy, editorial director, Future Foundation