It’s funny if your mate started a business selling earphones you would probably laugh. If Dr Dre does it, we queue around corner to get them.
But we know and trust our mate and know absolutely nothing about Dr Dre. So why in Ireland, are we so keen to trust large international brands over local producers, who possibly directly or indirectly also support our own businesses?
Aside from Brexit, if there was one thing to dominate the news in 2019, it was climate change. From blazing fires in the Amazon and Australia to excessive flooding in the UK and Italy, the need for us to do things differently has never been more evident. And yet here we are with another Black Friday upon us, followed by its very close cousin Cyber Monday. We’re encouraged to buy, buy, buy and business owners are encouraged to drop their prices to sell, sell, sell.
Who’s going to shout stop? Yes, we all want to buy our loved ones that thoughtful gift and to support businesses that work hard all year to sustain jobs and families. Can we do things a little differently without being too “bah humbug” and still maintain the joy of Christmas and of giving?
Yes we can. Here’s how:
1. Shop Local
According to Sven Spollen-Behrens, director of the Small Firms Association (SFA), the maths on this is pretty easy.
“If every Irish person spent just €20 extra in small local businesses this Christmas, this would amount to an injection of circa €70 million for small firms and would have a positive impact on local jobs and the vibrancy of towns and village centres,” says Sven.
And Sven’s maths makes for an even more compelling case, when you consider that 90% of businesses in Ireland are small businesses. They employ more than 400,000 people and account for almost 20% of all Gross Value Added in the Irish business economy. That’s according to brand new research from UCC this year.
2. Shop Online (Locally)
Shopping local doesn’t just refer to buying from the businesses in your hometown. It means being mindful of where your money is going online. Irish consumers are now spending around €5 billion online every year, but almost two thirds of that, around €3 billion, goes to retailers outside of Ireland. That’s according to PwC Ireland.
So when hunting deals today or on Cyber Monday, see if an Irish company has what you’re looking for. With those two points in mind let’s look at deals.
If you’re getting runners, sports or gym gear for someone, UK retailer SportsDirect might seem like the easy knee-jerk option, but what about Ireland’s Life Style Sports? But don’t do it just to be kind. They have some compelling reasons of their own to convince people to shop there. This weekend there is up to 50% off selected lines. And, even when it isn’t Black Friday, their delivery offering is very user-friendly. They do next day delivery for orders in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, if you place your order before 10pm.
Shopping local doesn’t just refer to buying from the businesses in your hometown. It means being mindful of where your money is going online.
Be it the book of a business titan you’re after, an inspiring book for your daughter or the latest cookbook for your family, again somewhere like Amazon might seem like the most convenient place to go to. But, it’s not. The delivery cost can be expensive, and it might not be the cheapest either. Eason, which has two million books in stock, is offering 30% off “almost everything” when you buy online this weekend. That includes Joe Schmidt’s new book and Michelle Obama’s latest journal. Plus delivery is free for orders over €10, and delivery takes between 2 and 7 days, this is when books from Amazon can take more than a week to arrive.
The Big Stores
Places like Arnotts and Brown Thomas are not doing Black Friday, instead, they’re having their own Christmas events this weekend, with 20% off things like high-end designer bags and luxury perfumes. The products you’re buying might not be Irish, but you’ll be supporting Irish jobs and Irish companies.
Lastly, shop safe. What does this mean?
1) Do not shop on sites outside the EU, no matter the bargain, you have absolutely no consumer rights when you buy from outside of the Eurozone.
2) Consider using your PayPal account, Revolut card, and if you don’t have one of those, try the An Post credit card, they’re quick to set up, if you bring your passport to your local post office. Making purchases in one of these three ways means if your card gets hacked, your current account won’t.
3) Do not make any purchases over free or public Wi-Fi.
I hope this gives some food for thought! And finally, I’m not in any way affiliated with any of the above brands.