Most Consumers Say: We Can't Live Without Small Businesses

There’s good news for small businesses even as they contend with the twin impacts of COVID-19 and rising real estate prices: Consumers want to support them, according to “What If There Were No Small Businesses,” a study from Constant Contact, conducted by Ascend2. 

Of those polled, 50% of Gen Z customers say they will patronize small businesses even if it hurts their wallet. And while 65% of consumers overall expect inflation to affect their spending this year, 70% will support their favorite small businesses despite its effects.

In general, 94% of U.S. consumers say small businesses impact their lives -- while 92% interact with one every week, and more than 50% do so at least three times per week. 

Moreover, 71% have had a better experience with small firms than larger ones. But 52% have noticed more small businesses closing in their towns since the pandemic first hit. 

And over 33% of city residents would consider moving if more of them closed.  

Given this level of loyalty, small businesses should cultivate their email lists and promote both digital and in-person engagement. 

“The landscape of small business also includes eCommerce, whether eCommerce is an extension of a brick and mortar location in your downtown or a thriving digital footprint in the community," says Todd Lebo, CEO of Ascend2. Regardless of the marketing mix, eCommerce expands the unique flavor of the small business community.”

Many people don’t even know what constitutes a small business. Fewer than half know that this includes performers, convenience stores, business and financial consultants, real estate agents, gyms and wellness facilities, doctor's offices and franchises. 

Yet 51% say they can't live without doctor's offices, and 37% say the same about restaurants (37%) and 36% regarding auto shops/dealerships.

In addition, supporting small businesses make people feel helpful (55%), more connected (50%) and involved (36%).  

At the same time, consumers feel small businesses are convenient (53%), familiar (46% and offer helpful or personalized service (41%).

Constant Contact and Ascend2 surveyed 2, 2,664 U.S. consumers in April 2022. 

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