There are many reasons why consumers spend their money the way they do. It can be anything from brand recognition to environmental or patriotic support.
The 2019 Cox Business Consumer Pulse survey on small businesses reveals 70% of Americans want made in the U.S.A. products. When it comes to small business support, a clear majority said they will spend more money on shops selling exclusively American-made goods.
For local businesses in small communities, this can be one way to drive in more foot traffic in their store. But today small businesses are competing with local, national and even international companies with physical and digital presence. However, consumer sentiment is changing and they are letting their dollars speak for them.
Steve Rowley, executive vice president of Cox Business, explained how the survey gives businesses a glimpse into why consumers like shopping small. This includes personalized experiences, great customer service, and long relationships to name a few.
2019 Consumer Sentiment Trends
In the press release, Rowley also says consumers are making more informed choices. He adds, “We’re seeing interesting trends in social consciousness among shoppers, as well as important stances on what roles technology should play in the retail experience.”
Consumers want to support their local small business, but this support increasingly comes with some caveats.
In addition to the 70% who support made in the USA stores, an equal number say they will spend more money in a business which supports a positive social or environmental cause. And more than half will stop supporting a business if it didn’t aline with their social or environmental views.
The support also extends to the hiring practices of the business. Having a diverse and inclusive workforce is a factor whether or not to support businesses for 72% of the respondents.
Beyond social support, technology is more important than ever for consumers who deal with small businesses.
Technology and Small Businesses
While going cashier-less may suit Amazon stores, it isn’t in demand by small business customers. More than 3 in 4 or 77% of the respondents said they want to interact with people when they checkout. But 23% want a cashier-less system, which was predominantly made up of 18-29-year-olds.
In addition to the interaction in the store, consumers also want the option of continuing the conversation online. Forty percent of consumers say small businesses should use social media to improve customer engagement.
There are more than 30 million small businesses in the U.S. which employ tens of millions of people. With that in mind, consumers say the government should do more to help small business growth.
The respondents in the survey said they do their part to help in this growth, and the government should also do its part. More than two thirds or 69% said the government could be doing more to support the growth of small businesses.
Some of their suggestions are more tax incentives and support programs for veteran-, minority- and women-owned businesses.
Cox Business commissioned the 2019 Cox Business Consumer Sentiment Survey on Small Business. A blind online survey with the participation of 1,036 Americans was carried out in April of 2019. According to Cox, the annual survey is designed to shed light on consumer shopping habits and small businesses.