Small business owner provides service with a smile
Small business owner provides service with a smile

Office Pulse Insights

Professionals Shop Small During the Pandemic

Professionals Shop Small During the Pandemic

Consumers are shopping small this year in an effort to support their local economies

Tumultuous 2020 was all about staying in and buying all our necessities from Amazon, which saw an 84% net profit boost. Now, small businesses have embraced technology to compete and consumers are making a concerted effort to shop small. An Office Pulse survey of North American workers found that more than 7 in 10 professionals say they’ve aimed to buy from small or local businesses during the pandemic. While quality, convenience and personalization are all motivating factors to shop small, the vast majority of consumers are doing so purely to support the local economy.  

What’s your motivation for shopping at small/local businesses?

0%
Supporting the local economy
0%
Convenience
0%
Product quality
0%
Environment/Atmosphere
0%
Connection to/Affinity for business owner/employees
0%
Other

Shoppers seek superb stock

Nearly a third of shoppers (32%) believe products from small businesses are of higher quality, and 69% overall are willing to pay top dollar for higher quality products. That’s great news for small businesses seeking to expand their customer base. Offering premium products and tip-top service will do much of the work of luring customers away from big box stores and major retailers. 

Small businesses struggling

Small business employees are nearly twice as likely to have experienced a business downturn as a result of the pandemic compared to those who do not work for a small business, at 47% versus 26%. Furthermore, employees who don’t work for a small business are three times more likely to have experienced upward momentum because of the pandemic.

Other insights include:

  • Canadian respondents are nearly 20% more likely to shop small more often once the pandemic is over compared to those in the US 

  • Small business employees are 13% more likely to report a decrease in their company’s revenue during the pandemic compared to those who do not work for a small business 

  • US respondents are more likely than Canadian respondents (49% vs. 31%) to shop small due to convenience

  • Employees of small businesses are slightly more likely to have made a point to shop small in the last year 

While those stats may sound bleak, the view isn’t all bad. In the face of a growing list of challenges in the past year, small business owners have gotten creative. Nearly half (over 40%) of women small- to mid-sized business owners pivoted their business model to stay afloat, according to the American Express Entrepreneurial Spirit Trendex.

Do you know of or own a small business with a great pandemic survival story? We’d love to hear from you.