Digital Marketing

How U.S. consumers engage with small businesses-Constant Contact

digital marketing agency

“A World Without Small Businesses” unpacks misconceptions about Main Street to celebrate the impact small businesses have on our lifestyles and communities

Constant Contact, a digital marketing platform trusted by millions of small businesses, today published new research exploring how U.S. consumers engage with small businesses in their daily lives. With insights from over 2,500 respondents, “A World Without Small Businesses” reveals that Americans are much more reliant on Main Street than they realize. Constant Contact published this research during National Small Business Week.

Constant Contact’s report indicates the desire to support small businesses remains strong. Despite months of struggling with historic inflation, staffing challenges and stagnant supply chains, 94 percent of consumers feel small businesses impact their lives, and 70 percent plan to support them regardless of what happens with inflation. However, there is a misunderstanding about who these businesses are, which has obscured their contributions to our communities and our lifestyles.

“Small businesses are everywhere, and our findings show that they are so deeply ingrained in our lives that we now take for granted how difficult basic things would be without them,” said Laura Goldberg, chief marketing officer at Constant Contact. “Every week, over 90 percent of Americans interact with a small business, and more than half of consumers engage with three or more. The reality is, small businesses feed our communities, take care of our children, renovate our homes and keep us healthy. We hope that by revealing how small businesses can be taken for granted, we can underscore their importance and celebrate their contributions.”

“Our report illustrates that the average American has developed a bit of ‘small business blindness’ when it comes to recognizing the small businesses they depend on every day,” said Dave Charest, director of small business success at Constant Contact. “Imagine if your nearest downtown area didn’t include any doctor’s offices, workout facilities or art galleries. Those types of businesses sometimes fly under the radar, but without them, every area would start to feel like ‘Anywhere, U.S.A.‘ By highlighting the many different ways small businesses contribute to the personalities and uniqueness of our cities and towns, it becomes clear how different life would be if they did not exist.”

The primary takeaways from “A World Without Small Businesses” include:

Small businesses power our lives, make us feel good and give our communities their unique personalities

  • Doctor’s offices (49%), restaurants (46%) and bakeries/coffee shops (43%) have the biggest positive impact on our communities
  • Supporting small businesses makes consumers feel helpful (55%), connected (50%) and involved (36%)
  • Consumers love that small businesses are convenient (53%), familiar (46%), and offer helpful/personalized customer service (41%)
  • Downtown America is typically home to at least one restaurant (77%), bakery/coffee shop (76%) and salon/beauty shop (60%)

If small businesses did not exist, our lives would be noticeably harder and much less interesting

  • The top businesses consumers absolutely can’t live without are doctor’s offices (51%), restaurants (37%) and auto shops/dealerships (36%)
  • 52% have noticed more small businesses in their towns closing since COVID hit
  • More than one-third of city residents would consider moving if the small businesses in their downtown area closed
  • Without small businesses, Americans said their daily routines would take longer

Americans want to support small businesses, but many have trouble recognizing when they encounter those businesses

  • Americans flock to small businesses for food/groceries (75%), clothing (64%), beauty/wellness (49%), pet products (44%) and home supplies (34%)
  • 71% have had a better experience with small businesses than larger ones
  • Yet, less than half of consumers understand that artists/writers/performers (47%), convenience stores (40%), consultants (36%), real estate agents (31%), gyms (28%), doctor’s offices (27%) and franchises (10%) are all small businesses
  • Indicative of their confusion, half of consumers felt small businesses closing would cause little to no disruption to their lifestyles.

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