According to the MerchantCircle quarterly Merchant Confidence Index for the second quarter of 2011, local merchants say that business optimism is holding steady, following the jump in economic sentiment in the previous quarter. The current MCI score is 63.2, similar to the score from the previous quarter of 63.5.
Darren Waddell, vice president of marketing at MerchantCircle says "... however, the optimism remains cautious, tempered by slight declines in perceptions of economic improvement over the next 12 months, and in hiring..."
Key survey findings include:
- 57% of small business owners expect revenue to "improve" or "slightly improve" over the next three months, unchanged from the previous quarter.
- However, when asked to rate the economy compared with 12 months ago, the perctntage that believed it had stayed the same or improved dipped to 64% this quarter from 70% last quarter.
- Over the next three months, 90% of merchants expect to keep headcount the same or plan to add jobs to their businesses, down slightly from the previous quarter, when 92% of merchants expected to maintain or increase headcount.
- Small business owners will continue last quarter's trend in marketing and advertising expenditure, with 85% of small business owners expecting to increase or keep marketing expenditure the same over the next three months, compared with 84% in the previous quarter.
This survey was fielded online, between April 30 and June 6, 2011, and sent to a random sample of MerchantCircle's member base of over 1.6 million local business owners. Responding businesses classified themselves as legal and financial services, automotive, health and beauty, entertainment, travel and more, with 78% of respondents employing fewer than five people. The overall index score is based upon a standardized five-level Likert scale.