BUSINESS

Greeks back local SMEs during lockdown

TAGS: Economy

While loyalty to big brands did continue during the lockdown, mainly thanks to the wide assortment of available goods, it was small and medium-sized businesses that caught the attention of Greeks, who fully related to the importance of supporting the local community and economy, according to an international survey conducted by Ipsos for PayPal and released on Tuesday.

Almost two-thirds of respondents (62%) shopped at small local stores during the lockdown, and 32% made online purchases from small and medium-sized brands. Nearly half of respondents decided to make a purchase at a small/midsized business or local shop in order to support both the local and national economy. The trend is expected to continue after the end of the lockdown, with 58% of Greeks declaring that they will be even more willing to buy local products.

Two-thirds of the general population (66%) said they felt responsible for supporting small businesses in their area. This was found to be especially important for seniors, as 87% of people aged over 65 said they believed that supporting the local economy was essential to overcoming the crisis.

“It reveals a major turning point in buying habits in Greece during lockdown – in particular, solidarity and local spirit,” stated Efi Dahan, a regional general manager at PayPal.

Cash had been dropping in popularity compared to other payment methods even before the crisis. The pandemic served as an accelerator to this process, pushing six out of 10 respondents in Greece to consider trying out new contactless payment solutions in shops. Half of those aged up to 20 said they would prefer to use contactless payment methods to avoid entering their PIN. Notably, 43% of people aged 65 and older could give up using cash from now on.

Other payment activities are slowly shifting online. During the quarantine, half of Greeks (51%) paid their household bills online or used mobile apps to do so. Seventy percent of respondents declared that even after the lockdown they planned to continue to pay their bills online. “Since Covid-19, people have been avoiding cash for fear of contracting the virus. Greeks are also reluctant to use touch screens in shops. This is not going to change. We are going to have a new normal,” said Dahan.

The crisis also awakened the spirit of altruism in Greeks and a desire for mutual assistance. During the pandemic, one in 10 Greek respondents began to volunteer or make donations.

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