Business Outlook Survey Provides Valuable Insight on Irvine’s Business Climate

Irvine, California (PRESS RELEASE – January 7, 2011) – The 2010 Business Outlook Survey conducted by the Irvine Chamber of Commerce was the first of its kind for the city offering a crucial insight into the state of the city’s economy. The survey last September and October was designed to determine the current economic conditions and local business climate in Irvine. With the help of the OC Register and MacKenzie Corporation, the chamber received responses from over 460 businesses, which were representative of the over 12,000 companies that call Irvine home.

The Chamber also provided a detailed analysis of the business survey results to the City of Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang on Dec. 7th. Mayor Kang welcomed the results and will use the information to improve the business climate in Irvine. “I am pleased to see this level of satisfaction but it reminds us that we must strive to keep business concerns in mind as we develop policies for the city,” says Mayor Kang.

A report of the results will also be mailed to all the businesses that were surveyed. The report will be sent to the companies in early Q1 2011.

“The Irvine Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to the success of Business in Irvine and Orange County. Retaining our current customer base is of the utmost importance,” says Tallia Hart, President and CEO of the Irvine Chamber. She adds, “Asking what a business needs is key to this process. We are proud to have taken the time to find out what more than 12,000 businesses need and how we can continue to support the economic vitality of our community.”

The Sluggish Recovery from the Recession is tops on the list of concerns

The Business Outlook Survey determined that slipping sales was the foremost concern on the minds of local executives, as over half of the respondents cited this as the number one challenge. The second most mentioned challenge was the cost of commercial space. The retail sector reported the greatest level of concern is regarding the day-to-day challenges of lower sales and rising costs (commercial space and salaries).

While the press carries many reports about the lack of available credit, lack of finance was a major concern only for those in the business services sector. On the other hand, the manufacturing/scientific and financial sectors were most concerned about government regulation.

Current Challenges Profess.
Financial /
Manuf /
Retail /
Decrease in sales 59% 51% 53% 67% 56%
Cost of commercial space 32% 26% 26% 41% 30%
Increased government regulations 25% 21% 52% 25% 28%
Competition from larger companies 26% 35% 30% 24% 27%
Lack of financing 18% 35% 22% 25% 24%
Cost of doing business in Irvine 21% 14% 21% 45% 22%
Competition online 12% 15% 18% 25% 15%
Lack of business development resources 14% 21% 12% 10% 13%

Most Companies Are In a Holding Pattern

When asked about future business challenges, the results remained the same. When asked about the six-month outlook, the overall concern level was less negative. 72% said they would maintain current operations, and another 20% indicated they would expand current operations.

Only 12% of those surveyed considered relocating the company, in which the majority of those indicated they would stay in Southern California, the rest were looking out-of-state (Nevada, Texas, North Carolina and Florida).

Future Business Actions –
(in the next 6 months)
Action Response
  • Maintain Current Operations
  • Expand
  • Relocate
  • Downsize
Of the 12% (or 57 companies) who stated that they would
relocate, 34 of them would still stay in California and a majority
of them would stay in Irvine.  If staying in the state, then Santa
Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach were mentioned.

* MacKenzie Corporation

Overall High Satisfaction Rating With Irvine

Roughly 70% of respondents were either Completely Satisfied or Very Satisfied with the City of Irvine as a place to do business. In regards to City Attributes that they were most satisfied with, the respondents cited most often the image of the city, access to transportation and the network of excellent universities and colleges.

Top 3 Important Irvine Attributes (marked Extremely or Very Important):

  • Access to Customers (69.2%)
  • Business Climate (67.6%)
  • Image of City (65.5%)

The 3 Attributes Most Satisfied with (marked Extremely or Very Satisfied):

  • Image of City (77.0%)
  • Access to Transportation (67.9%)
  • University / Colleges (60.6%)

What the Irvine Chamber Has Learned from the Business Outlook Survey

In looking at the challenges, increasing sales was clearly at the top of the list. To address this need, the Irvine Chamber has developed a number of programs to help local companies find new markets and lower costs by connecting with other local businesses.

In terms of the city’s business climate, Irvine is rightly recognized as having great infrastructure, city services and educational resources, though the Irvine Chamber of Commerce is aware that it cannot be complacent about its current standing. Companies continue to look for the best value for its operations and, as we have seen, other cities, states and countries are looking to recruit Irvine’s companies away.

The Irvine Chamber of Commerce and the City of Irvine’s goal is to earn the loyalty of its companies by continuously improving the quality of local services, help increase productivity of their local operations by linking them to state-of-the art resources, and increasing satisfaction levels by maintaining Irvine as Orange County’s premier business hub.

About The Irvine Chamber of Commerce

The Irvine Chamber of Commerce is one of the most influential Chambers in Orange County representing hundreds of local businesses. The Chamber’s mission is to promote an economic climate that strengthens the competitiveness of local businesses, while offering members a wide range of benefits, services, programs and information. The Irvine Chamber is one of only 250 Chamber’ in the U.S. who meet the requirements for accreditation by the U.S. Chamber.

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