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The Face of Local Has Changed

… And Affects Your Marketing Strategy in a New Way 

During COVID, the world embraced ecommerce. But there was parallel interest in supporting local businesses and preserving the integrity of local communities. These two developments are not as contradictory as they might seem at first. 

Download the complete infographic here: 

Consumers Still in Favour of Shopping Locally 

The pandemic forced businesses to digitalise their services and widen the options for consumers to engage in new ways, e.g. click and collect, online meetings etc. This allowed customers to take the journey that’s most convenient for them. 

  • 70% prefer to shop locally. More than half of those even do so when it’s less convenient or more expensive than shopping online. 
  • 60% are more likely to buy something online when they can return it to a store. This indicates that the in-store experience also matters when the purchase happens completely online.
  • 82% will potentially shop locally after the pandemic: 43% plan to do most of their shopping in store, 33% will shop both on- and offline, while only 6% aren’t sure yet. 

42% More Local Engagements in  the UK Despite the Pandemic 

In 2020, consumers worldwide were seeking more information about local businesses. ‘Near me’ queries increased by 8%, while the amount of indirect queries grew by 23%. This means that more consumers were searching for categories (“bookstore near me”), as opposed to brands (“Waterstones near me”). 

Average monthly queries per listing on a global level in 2020 vs 2019

On average, a Google My Business profile achieved 607 monthly local engagements in the UK during 2020. This is 42% more than the previous year.  

Average monthly actions per listing in the UK in 2020 vs 2019

A 79% growth in website clicks show that consumers sought alternative, and safer ways to find information. 

Businesses Needed to Digitalise for Growth

Not every industry could grow their local engagements in 2020. However, businesses got more local traction when they were able to digitalise their offering. 

Industries that increased local engagements are 

  • Retail: +18% local engagements 
  • Finance: +10% local engagements 
  • Businesses & services: +34% local engagements
  • Community & government: +93% local engagements 

Industries that increased local engagements in 2020

How Businesses Embrace the Future of Local

Based on our interviews with marketing experts, we digested their insights and tips into 5 best practices: 

  1. EXPAND YOUR CHANNELS 
  2. THINK ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS’ CONVENIENCE
  3. STAY UP-TO-DATE
  4. PROACTIVELY ENGAGE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE 
  5. ENABLE YOUR TEAMS TO CONTRIBUTE TO BUSINESS SUCCESS 

Want more stats and insights?? Download our report The New Face of Local

For this report we analysed 80,000 mid-market businesses worldwide, surveyed 4,000 consumers in the US, the UK, France and Germany, and spoke to marketing experts from various companies across the world. 

Philipp Wolf
Philipp Wolf

This Sr. Content Specialist at Uberall is a huge fan of marketing technology, long distance runs and pastries. Most frequent 'near me' searches are for breakfast places and cafés (especially when on holidays).