For a long time following the internet-driven boom in globalisation, it seemed like international business was the only way forward. We all started ordering from far-flung countries and companies rushed to standardise their content so that they could appeal to as many people in as many places as possible.

And yet, surprisingly, a study by Edelman Digital found that it’s primarily millennials - the generation brought up with this technology - that are turning the trend on its head by choosing to shop small. More and more consumers are picking independent stores over chain ones and local businesses over retail giants. And they expect the same treatment in return, with a more personal approach to advertising now becoming the norm.

As Food and Drink Wales encourage people to celebrate St David’s Day by shopping Welsh, let’s take a look at the different ways in which the push towards localisation is impacting the way we do business.


artisan food


Shop Local

For many, the re-emerging popularity of small businesses invokes a nostalgia for the days when you could pop down to a local butcher’s to pick your own cut of meat. But when it comes to the current generation of consumers, shopping small is as much about being socially conscious as it is the quality of service. According to research by Nielsen: “Millennials put a premium on authentic, handmade, locally produced goods” and they have a particular interest in regional pride.


Market Local 

Language is becoming ever-more important in the way that businesses interact with their customers. The use of regional slang and dialect, as well as brand banter, have become important tools in the digital marketing kit to help build trust and familiarity with audiences. And according to research carried out by the Common Sense Advisory, 56% of customers say that having information presented in their own language is more important than product price.


Eat Local

Food is another arena in which local produce means big business. The USA’s National Restaurant Association highlighted hyperlocal sourcing as one of the key trends for the food industry in 2018, and many of the finalists on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list demonstrate a commitment to regional dishes and delicacies. The growing interest in high-quality cuisine is helping to drive this trend. In Inland Institutional’s study, almost 50% of millennials described themselves as foodies.


With millennials set to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025 and so wield some serious spending power, it looks like this trend will be staying local in the foreseeable future.