More than a quarter of Americans shop a local small business at least twice a week, while 70 percent said they would spend more money at a small business if it only sold U.S.-manufactured items, according to the 2017 Cox Business Consumer Pulse on Small Businesses. The blind survey of 1,900 consumers shows that only eight percent of respondents don’t visit any type of small business in an average week.
Survey respondents are overwhelmingly supportive of the U.S. economy, according to the report. Eighty-five percent of surveyed consumers responded that shopping or dining at small businesses makes them feel like they’re supporting the American workforce and economy. The data also shows that a large majority of consumers (82 percent) feel that both local and federal government agencies could do more to promote small business growth.
Of those surveyed, consumers cited local support as the main motivation for frequenting Main Street businesses, with 67 percent listing it as their number one reason. After local support, respondents ranked convenience (63 percent), greater customer service than a large business (50 percent) and familiarity with small business owners and employees (45 percent) among the top motivators for shopping local. Cost was less of a priority for respondents. Only 14 percent of consumers surveyed said “more competitive pricing” was a reason for supporting small businesses.
When it comes to the impact of politics on consumers’ support of small businesses, only 16 percent of respondents said they would stop supporting a small business owner if he or she voted differently than them, but a larger percentage (35 percent) said they would stop supporting a small business if they knew the owner was vocal on social media about his or her preferred candidate or political views.
“These survey findings show that Americans are overwhelmingly united in their support of small businesses regardless of the so-called things that divide us,” said Steve Rowley, executive vice president of Cox Business. “Most consumers want to do their part in supporting the American workforce and economy and understand their collective patronage of these establishments is a key component of building stronger communities.”