The Global Consumer Trends Reopening Report from market research firm Dynata found that, prior to the pandemic, two in five Australians (39 per cent) would always choose a small business to deal with over a large company.
But since the pandemic, that figure has risen to three in five Australians (59 per cent) who say they will prefer small businesses, a 20 per cent increase.
The research found that more than half of Australians (56 per cent) believed the government should concentrate its efforts on supporting small businesses through this time rather than large companies.
In addition, 61 per cent of Australians feel obliged to help smaller businesses survive rather than larger companies.
The report surveyed 11 countries with approximately 1,000 interviews per country.
As well as Australia, other countries covered were the USA, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, China and Singapore.
Across all countries, the research showed that consumers intend to carry this view after the pandemic is over.
Post-pandemic, 56 per cent agreed that they would favour smaller businesses wherever they could (up from 36 per cent pre-pandemic) and increases were similar across all countries.
Similar double-digit percentage point increases were observed across generations as well: 34 per cent to 50 per cent for Gen Z; 37 per cent to 55 per cent for Millennials; 33 per cent to 55 per cent for Gen X; and 38 per cent to 60 per cent for Baby Boomers.
Globally, the attitude to help small businesses over large companies is more strongly held by the older generation than by the young, with 57 per cent of Baby Boomers agreeing they felt this obligation, compared to just 38 per cent of Gen Z.
Millennials and Gen X placed between these two extremes, at 45 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively. Pre-pandemic, both generations had little variation when it came to actively choosing small businesses over larger ones.
“Many people agree they have a social obligation to support them and want their government to support them as well,” the report said.
“This is consistent across geographies and generations, but it remains to be seen if good intentions will persist post-pandemic.”