“Shop Small” Resonates With Local Consumers

According to the Small Biz Saturday Consumer Pulse, consumers are realizing the value businesses bring to the economy.
August 31, 2011

According to the Small Business Saturday Consumer Pulse from American Express OPEN, consumers are realizing the value small businesses bring to their communities and the economy. Thanks in part to initiatives like Small Business Saturday—a day to support the small, independently owned businesses we can’t live without—consumers are “shopping small” to support their local economies.

Small business sentiment on the rise

According to the survey based on July 2011 data, 89 percent of consumers surveyed said they believe that small businesses contribute positively to their local communities. Ninety-three percent said they believed it’s important for people to support the small businesses they value in their community. Additionally, 87 percent responded that small business success is a critical element of overall U.S. economic health.

Nearly half of those surveyed indicated they thought the strength of the small business economy is the same or better than five years ago.

Spending locally

The study also demonstrates that consumers are putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to spending at local small businesses. On average, 33 percent of their monthly discretionary spending is spent at locally-owned, independent businesses, with just over $100 per month spent at their favorite store.

When asked to choose the primary reason for shopping at a small business, consumers largely cited the familiarity as being important. Twenty-three percent chose “The people that work there are friendly and greet me by name,” while 22 percent selected, “The people that work there know me and make recommendations of products and services they think I will like” as their reasons for shopping small.

Taking the pulse on “buying local”

The American Express OPEN Small Business Saturday Consumer Pulse—an online survey of 1,000 consumers ages 18 and older, reporting customer perception of locally-owned, independent stores—reveals the impact small businesses have on local communities and examines consumer spending trends. The survey was conducted by Echo Research from July 26 – July 29, 2011. Breakdowns by age and gender for certain questions are provided.

For key findings from the survey, download the American Express OPEN Small Business Saturday Consumer Pulse Fact Sheet.

Shop small on small business saturday

More than a hundred advocacy, public and private organizations are joining American Express OPEN in declaring the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday. This year, Small Business Saturday is November 26, 2011.