Belfast Telegraph

Independent grocers still a popular choice for Northern Ireland shoppers

New study reveals 59% of NI people 'shop local'

Glyn Roberts of Retail NI (right) with Translink’s Chris Conway and Belfast Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey launch Independents’ Day
Glyn Roberts of Retail NI (right) with Translink’s Chris Conway and Belfast Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey launch Independents’ Day
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

Northern Ireland consumers are still flocking to independently owned shops for groceries, new research suggests.

Retail NI, which represents the independent retail and wholesale sector here, said the study carried out by Perceptive Insight in May showed that 59% of shoppers visit their neighbourhood store for a top-up basket food shop up to three times a week.

The research also revealed that 71% spend between £20 and £50 during single visits to independently owned stores.

The data, launched ahead of Retail NI's annual Independents' Day campaign on July 4, said the biggest deciding factor for people visiting an independent store was to support local businesses (62%), while one-third of those surveyed cited better customer service and 36% simply put it down to convenience.

The findings are more encouraging than the latest data from Kantar, which suggested that supermarket multiples accounted for a hefty 83.9% of the market here.

Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said: "Locality is central to our shopping habits throughout Northern Ireland. Whether this is a preference for locally sourced fresh food or supporting local stores to ensure their money stays in our economy, keeping things local is clearly important to the consumer, as our new research shows."

Preparing for next month's annual celebration of independently owned businesses, Mr Roberts said he hoped it will continue to inspire consumers to shop local all-year round.

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"Independents' Day is a unique chance for us to highlight that work and the great calibre of food, fashion, convenience, gift and niche stores throughout Northern Ireland," he said.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for consumers to hear all about their town centres, and those worth making the effort to travel to throughout the week, and to be encouraged to shop locally all year round."

Independents' Day 2018 will involve Retail NI teaming up with a number of partners, including Heathrow Airport and Translink.

Translink chief exeucitve Chris Conway said: "We're encouraging shoppers to use public transport on Independents' Day and enjoy a range of summer discount bus and train tickets for great value and convenient journeys right across Northern Ireland."

According to the latest grocery market figures from Kantar Worldpanel, symbol operators - which include independent grocers operating under banners such as Spar and Centra - claimed 8.1% of sector spending over the last year. Other outlets, including pharmacy chain Boots and other independents, claimed 8%.

Belfast Telegraph