Food at top of Northern Ireland’s shopping list as consumers shop local

Chris Conway, Translink CEO, The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Deirdre Hargey & Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts at the launch of the Independents' Day campaign
  • Research reveals 59% of shoppers surveyed visit their town centres for local food shop
  • The basket shop comes out on top as 84% food shop between one and three times per week
  • Retail NI unveils research as part of 2018 Independents’ Day campaign to champion local high streets and town centres’ independent stores

Retail NI, the business organisation representing the independent retail and wholesale sector in Northern Ireland, has today released fresh research which shows how Northern Ireland consumers are shopping on their local high streets and town centres.

The research comes as the organisation launches its annual Independents’ Day campaign for 2018, encouraging consumers to make the most of their town centres not just on the 04 July, but all year round.

While the research, carried out by Perceptive Insight in May 2018, revealed 59% of consumers surveyed used their local stores for a basket food top-up shop up to three times a week, it also showed that 71% spent between £20 and £500 on a single visit to local, independently owned stores.

The report also revealed the biggest deciding factor for visiting an independent store was tosupport local businesses (62%) as well as better customer service (32%) and the convenience of local shops (36%).

Glyn Roberts, CEO of Retail NI said of the report; “Locality is central to our shopping habits throughout Northern Ireland. Whether this is a preference for locally sourced fresh food or supporting local stores to ensure their money stays in our economy, keeping things local is clearly important to the consumer, as our new research shows.

“At Retail NI, we work with thousands of members from local shopping towns throughout Northern Ireland to ensure great relationships between stores and their local Councils and Chambers, making our vibrant town centres desirable shopping destinations.

“Independents’ Day is a unique chance for us to highlight that work and the great calibre of food, fashion, convenience, gift and niche stores throughout Northern Ireland.”

Retail NI’s Independents’ Day campaign will focus on the consumer experience for 2018 through several partnerships, notably that of Q Radio.

Throughout Wednesday 04 July, Glyn Roberts will join Steve Turnbull and Eoghan Quigg to fly the length and breadth of Northern Ireland on the Retail NI helicopter, visiting market towns and local high streets from Ballyhackamore in East Belfast, to Omagh, Newry, Banbridge and Portadown.

Glyn continued; “This is a fantastic opportunity for consumers to hear all about their town centres, and those worth making the effort to travel to throughout the week, and to be encouraged to shop locally all year round.”

Mr Roberts also encouraged Retail NI members and all independent stores throughout Northern Ireland to make the most of this initiative and create reasons for shoppers to visit them. He said on the night; “I urge our members here tonight to get involved in this year’s campaign. There is much footfall and business to be won when you wow the public and show them why a trip to your store is a wonderful experience.”

Other partners include Heathrow Airport as well as Translink, who will be running attractive bus and rail services throughout the summer to ensure shopping at local town centres is even easier.

Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway said: “We’re encouraging shoppers to use public transport on Independents’ Day and enjoy a range of summer discount bus and train tickets for great value and convenient journeys right across Northern Ireland. Local independent retailers play a vital role in the community and in supporting our economy so we’re encouraging our passengers to buy local and enjoy that more ‘personal touch’ during their shopping experience.”

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, who spoke at the launch of Retail NI's Independents' Day campaign said:

“On behalf of Belfast City Council, I am delighted to support Independents’ Day, which celebrates and recognises the huge contribution that the independent retail sector makes to the city of Belfast, and to the entire local economy, in providing investment and employment while supporting local producers and the supply chain.

“Independents offer that little bit extra and give our city uniqueness, making it more attractive to local shoppers and tourists alike. It is vital that we do all we can to drive home the 'shop local' message to consumers.  Independent retailers really do need our support to ensure they can continue to serve our communities and to sustain the very fabric and vibrancy of our local high streets.

“I also hope Independents' Day encourages new entrepreneurs to come forward, open up new small businesses and lead the charge in regenerating our city.”


To find out more about Retail NI’s Independents’ Day campaign for 2018, visit the dedicated webpage, and via Retail NI’s social platforms on Facebook and Twitter, and by following #IndieDayNI2018 on social media.


For media information, contact Jane Williams or Claire McKee at JComms on 028 9076 0066 or //

About Retail NI & Independents’ Day

  • Retail NI (previously NIIRTA) is Northern Ireland’s only locally based retail and wholesale business organisation which provides professional advice and gives a voice to the independent sector at the NI Assembly, Westminster and at local Councils.
  • 1,800 members include wholesalers, independent retailers of all kinds, suppliers and affiliated Chambers of Commerce and local Traders’ Groups.
  • Glyn Roberts has been CEO of Retail NI for over 10 years
  • Membership information can be gained by contacting the Retail NI office on

028 9022 0004 or via