Why not shop local for Cyber Monday?


So apparently today is Cyber Monday – the day when we’re all going to be very enthusiastically shopping online.

According to the BBC website, we’ll be spending cash at a rate of £450,000 a minute today – 26% more than last year.

For me, though, I’ll be taking a slightly different tack to my shopping this Christmas. I wrote earlier this year about how I was weaning myself off Amazon – and to an extent, I have.

During 2013, I spent £3,410 on the Amazon website. This year, it’s been just over £120.

So what’s changed?

This year, I’ve made the effort to shop in the real world, and where possible to shop local.

My Amazon purchases were restricted to some photography lights that weren’t in stock in any of our local towns, an album I couldn’t find anywhere else, and some printer ink that I needed overnight and couldn’t leave the house to buy. So I’m not boycotting the site entirely – just restricting my use to where there isn’t a local alternative.

I’m lucky to live in a small town where there are plenty of independent shops. In Lytham, we’ve got a choice of shoe shops, a bookshop that sells toys and stationery, some amazing gift and interiors stores, quirky gift shops, and restaurants. We’ve even got our own local coffee company. There are two greengrocers, a butchers, and a cheese shop, all independently owned.  We have our own, locally owned department store. There are a ridiculous number of restaurants and cafes, and you can even book into the local antique furniture store for workshops on painting furniture and other creative pastimes.

I know it isn’t as easy for everyone to have this sort of choice. Maybe you live miles from the nearest shops – not a five minute walk like us. And I’ll admit, buying locally isn’t always the absolute cheapest option.

But I like the fact that when I buy Flea’s books from the local book shop, the guy who owns the store is the same guy I used to see every week at the local mother and baby group. I used to take Flea to a weekly music class for toddlers with the daughter of the family that owns the greengrocers. We’re going to be renting an office next year – and the guy who designed and built the building is the Dad of Flea’s best friend from school.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? Being part of the community you live in, and helping it to thrive? When we go into the local shoe shop, the owner knows Flea by name – and knows to only bring out boys’ shoes to choose from. She’ll often offer us a discount, or she’ll drop in some shoe labels or accessories for free. Sure, I probably could have bought those Converse boots online a little cheaper than I got them in Stampede, but would Flea have got to say hello to Blue, the owner’s dog, if we did that?

For me, it’s worth a couple of extra pounds here or there to know that the money I spend is going in the pockets of people who live and work in my community. They’re the parents of Flea’s friends at school. They’re the Mums and Dads I see every week at Cubs and Beaver scouts.

And the evidence suggests that money spent in the local community stays in the community – figures show that for every £1 spent locally in an independently owned business, 63p remained local, compared to 40p for a larger business (or zero for an online business based in a warehouse who knows where).

What do you reckon – will you be shopping locally this Christmas?




21 thoughts on “Why not shop local for Cyber Monday?”

  1. Unfortunately for us shopping locally pretty much means Tesco! Not quite what you’re aiming for there. We do have a fab local furniture store though 🙂

    1. But even by buying locally, you’re helping – far better to spend that £1 at Tesco or PC World or wherever, so a local person has a paid job than to spend it on Amazon, so someone well outside your community has an insecure, low-paid job that potentially means even fewer local and locally owned businesses can survive!

  2. We try to shop locally whenever possible. Like you it’s the community connections I love making. I love that the coffee shop owner remembers that Squidge likes her hot chocolate w/ marshmallows and lots of squirty cream and throws in a little sweat. My butchers knows what we want when we go in and remembers that it’s Thanksgiving and reminds me about that if I want a turkey I better order it soon. Well done you on cutting back on your Amazon shopping. We’re trying to do the same but haven’t been as successful as you!

    Oh and I can so vouch for Lytham being a fab unique gem of a town. I think a lot of town have what Lytham has but there are just sooo many more independent shops and sooo soo many restaurants. You can eat out for lunch for a month and not repeat a location!

    1. You’re right – we are very lucky in the options available to us here but I think it’s nice if we just try one or two local options, like your coffee shop. At a push, even shopping at a local chain store allows someone local to remain in employment 🙂

  3. Shopping local for me just isn’t practical, well that is unless it is from a charity shop, mobile phone store or a bookies! Yep that is all that is left of the local high street! But that is the price I pay for living in a very small place. I have to drive to get to the supermarket.

    So I try and shop independently online where possible. I buy direct from makers and support them as best I can.

    One thing we do though is make a list of what we need and buy it from as local as possible when we can.

  4. My husband and I just recently decided to try to by mostly local. If you do your research you can find places. Sometimes its a bit pricey but its worth it most of the time.

  5. I feel passionately about this Sally. I made the same decision a couple of years ago. We don’t really make Xmas lists that have to be stuck to rigidly (the girls write a list for Santa, but this year it has ‘special powers’ and ‘mermaid tails’ on it…) I like to potter and browse, support our local shops. I see what suits someone then buy it. I buy better quality and less of it. Everyone wins.

  6. Mirka Moore @Kahanka

    Since we have moved, i also shop much more locally as love the little shops & cafes in the high street. Would you believe I very rarely shop online? I think it’s a great way to support community!

    1. It’s very much dependent on where you live, I know – I’m so lucky to live somewhere with so many choices for local and independent, and I want it to stay that way!

  7. I definitely try to and we now use all the local indy coffee shops rather than the chain ones too. I shop online for most of our Christmas stuff, as taking a 1 year old, 3 year old and bump shopping is so stressful I never get anything, but I am buying more from independent online stores rather than amazon this year.

    1. I think indie online is a great approach too – I’ve tried Etsy for the first time this year, and I’m also buying direct from a lot of smaller UK retailers rather than assume it’ll be faster/easier/cheaper through Amazon which isn’t always the case.

  8. Hi,

    I have just read your latest blog and I agree entirely. I am a mum to a daughter 8 and son 7 and I love shopping in Lytham. I have my own online kids clothing business, which is flourishing as I try to deliver the orders to my local customers as much as possible (FY8 area). I would love to open my own shop, but as I started off the business without any loans etc it will take time to get to that point. Please do take a look and any feedback is always welcome. You can also find Childrens Wardrobe on all social media platforms.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post.


  9. I am so glad to read this. It is also small business Saturday tomorrow, so important to support local businesses. I buy a lot from local charity shops because I think it’s the right thing to do.x

  10. Esther - sewpollyesther

    I buy online a lot at the moment because it helps my to control my budget, wheras if I’m in store I end up popping too many extras in my bag.

    I do subscribe to the less and better motto and I do buy handmade/homemade when I see something I love.

    If you love Etsy, have you tried folksy.co.uk – the UK equivalent – it’s not a large as Etsy but is UK sellers. It’s tricky sometimes on Etsy to drill down to the UK sellers although they have made it easier recently.

  11. Really important to shop locally and support communtities, but have been naughty this year and bought nearly everything online as struggling to manage the shops…but then I could but more locally /independently online If you know what I mean.

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