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Six benefits of shopping local this holiday season — and seven tips to make it easier than ever

Futurpreneur | December 18, 2023

Shopping locally is gaining popularity with many Canadians. According to a recent opinion poll, a majority of consumers said they’d rather shop local than purchase from large online retailers — and there’s never been a better time to invest in your community while practising conscious consumerism. 

This holiday season, your local small business owners and entrepreneurs — including many Futurpreneurs — will appreciate your efforts. Let’s dive into the benefits of shopping locally this holiday season, along with some tips and ideas for supporting small businesses across Canada.

1. Keep your tax dollars in the community

For every $100 spent at a small business, on average $66 stays local, according to new data from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. That’s an impressive figure, compared to the $11 that stays in the community from every $100 spent at a large multinational business.

2. Support local entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs drive prosperity in Canada. According to the Business Council of Canada, entrepreneurs found or lead 98% of all small and medium-sized businesses in the country — and they create nearly half of all new jobs, generate around a third of the Canadian GDP, and produce a quarter of our exports. 

3. Support local causes

Supporting a local business allows them to give back to the community in volunteer days, support and sponsorship programs, and donating to local causes. Our Futurpreneurs love giving back to their communities — and you can help them do it by giving them your business.

4. Lower your environmental impact

Purchasing locally made goods helps reduce the greenhouse gases associated with shipping products hundreds or thousands of kilometres, and it can help reduce urban sprawl and habitat loss. Smaller businesses also generally require less energy for their operations. 

5. Enjoy better customer service

Small business owners and employees typically offer high-quality service and an in-depth knowledge of the products they’re selling. They’re fully invested in the success of the business, and they’ll go out of their way to make your shopping experience enjoyable and meaningful. 

6. Find unique gifts

Shopping locally allows you to discover one-of-a-kind gifts that stand out from mass-produced items. With a more limited stock, each gift you select is unique, adding a personal touch to your holiday presents — and you can often meet the creator who made the gift, adding another layer of fun and value to your holiday shopping. 

Seven tips for finding the perfect local businesses, products and services

While polling shows a majority of Canadians say supporting local businesses is important to them, 87% report doing most of their shopping through multinational retailers — and 78% of small retailers say they’re losing customers to big businesses. 

Here are some ways to make shopping locally easier this holiday season.

1. Shop the Futurpreneur 2023 Holiday Shopping Guide

Want to shop local and support young entrepreneurs across Canada? The Futurpreneur 2023 Holiday Shopping Guide features a range of holiday offerings from small, local Canadian businesses. Find unique and affordable holiday gifts from our diverse, skilled Futurpreneurs. Explore products by specific communities, including Black, Indigenous, woman-owned, and 2SLGBTQIA+ businesses, or shop by province or category.

2. Set a budget and purchase with purpose

Set a clear budget for your holiday shopping this year, and stick to it. Remember — a less-expensive but more meaningful gift can help you stay within budget and also bring more joy to the recipient. 

Interac Corp., one of our presenting sponsors for this year’s Holiday Shopping Guide, offers its Interac Debit solution to make everyday purchases quick and easy with just a tap — and this option can lower the cost of transactions for small businesses, too. Interac also has some great advice for reducing holiday stress

3. Look online 

There’s a good chance that even the smallest local shops in your community have a website or social media presence, allowing you to shop locally — online. All of the Futurpreneurs featured in our Holiday Shopping Guide are examples of this. To make life even easier, inquire about delivery or curbside pickup options.

4. Hit the holiday craft fairs

Winter markets and craft fairs are a great way to discover local entrepreneurs. Futurpreneur recently hosted a six-city, cross-Canada Holiday Shopping Tour where our young entrepreneurs highlighted their products in local marketplaces. Events like these let you see a range of different local gift-buying options in one place — and they’re fun, festive and family-friendly.

5. Consider gift certificates

The gift of time is precious, and gift certificates can save the day — purchase them for everything from house-cleaning and pet-walking services to local restaurants, boutiques, spas, salons and gift shops. Gift certificates from small local coffee and tea shops are great gifts for coworkers, teachers, and others this season.

6. Hire a local caterer

The holidays are a busy time. If you can, give yourself a break and hire a local caterer to do the cooking, baking or charcuterie boards for your holiday events. Many local caterers and restaurant owners love to shine at this time of year and could really benefit from a boost from local consumers. 

7. Show your appreciation

Customer and community engagement mean everything to a small-business owner, so join that newsletter and follow, like and share those social media posts. Word-of-mouth can make or break a young entrepreneur, so if you’ve had a great experience with a local business, take a few moments to shout it from the rooftops!

Shopping local is easy with Futurpreneur

Shopping locally this year can make a big difference to young entrepreneurs — and we’ve made it easy once again with our 2023 Futurpreneur Holiday Shopping Guide (in French here). We’ve carefully curated unique, affordable holiday gift options into this year’s guide.

If you’re a local entrepreneur, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), our other presenting sponsor for this year’s Holiday Shopping Guide, has created this handy small business toolkit to help young entrepreneurs get ready for the busy holiday season.