The Economy of Shopping Small Goes Beyond a Dollar Value

About Shop Small

Shop Small is a nationwide movement founded by American Express that brings together support from the business community, governments and consumers to support small businesses. Shop Small begins on 1 November 2015 and runs for the entire month.

A call for Australians to Shop Small in November 2015

Shop Small brings together support from the business community, all levels of government, ambassadors and consumers.

Retail expert, Brian Walker is an ambassador for the campaign and said, “Consumers have unprecedented choice when it comes shopping in Australia – thanks to new online stores and international retailers setting up shop – meaning competition has never been more fierce for small business owners. While this is delivering many benefits, it is threatening the identity of our nation’s high streets and store fronts which are at very real risk of being lost. With small business the engine of Australia’s economy, this is a future none of us want. I’m excited to be part of the Shop Small movement.” Mr. Walker said.

From knowing a customer’s name to remembering their favourite order, new research shows the millions of small businesses in Australia deliver an emotional value that big business can’t.

A new research report, capturing the sentiments of more than 700 business owners and 1,000 consumers across Australia, has shown small businesses are delivering an emotional value to local communities that big businesses can’t compete with.

The Economy of Shopping Small Report, commissioned by American Express saw Australians admit to increasing the frequency they shop at large businesses nine per cent more than they have at small businesses in the last 12 months. Fifty four per cent of Australians prefer to shop with large businesses, compared to 46 per cent who opted for small businesses.

Small businesses account for four in every ten jobs, contribute over $340 billion of economic output and employ more than 4.5 million Australians.

Some Australian small business owners are looking to opt out

Nearly two in five (39 per cent) small business owners indicated an intention to sell their business in the future, with 67 per cent of small family business owners saying they will most likely sell their business to individuals or businesses outside of the family. Possible reasons for this include concerns around financial stability (73 per cent), increasing costs (82 per cent), attracting new customers (79 per cent) and retaining existing ones (78 per cent).

The emotive economy of shopping small

The majority of consumers agree small businesses provide positive emotional value, breeding feelings of attachment (54 per cent), giving the community its identity (62 per cent) and adding to its charm (62 per cent).

The research illustrates that small businesses in Australia deliver an emotional value big businesses can’t – from knowing a customer’s name to remembering how they take their coffee.

Ninety nine per cent of small business owners said they always welcome their customers with a smile while 94 per cent always personally thank their customers. More than, 90 per cent know the names of all their regular customers and 80 per cent actively take an interest in their personal lives.

Even with a 10 per cent increase in prices, 42 per cent of Australians would continue to support small family run businesses, whereas only 26 per cent would continue to support solely online businesses.

The report also found that Australians who prefer unique, customised or personalised products and services are 18 per cent more likely to preference ‘shopping small’ (54 per cent vs. 46 per cent). Those who prefer businesses that support the local community are 15 per cent more likely to preference shopping small (53 per cent vs. 46 per cent).

This emotional connection is also felt by the nation’s small business owners. When judging the success of their business, 91 per cent agreed it was about the level of enjoyment they received from simply working at the business. Over three-quarters (76 per cent) of small business owners agreed that setting up a small business was about pursuing a dream, vision and passion or seeking new challenges. For just over two-thirds, (68 per cent), it’s also about proving to themselves it can be done.

For family-run businesses, the emotional ties and value runs deep. Eighty-eight per cent love working together, while the same percentage said there was a higher level of trust and understanding between family employees compared to non-family employees.

To encourage its own Card Members to shop in small businesses throughout November, American Express will provide a $10 statement credit to those who have registered their Cards in the Shop Small promotion. Card Members will receive the credit each time they spend $20 or more in participating businesses – up to 10 times.

To participate in Shop Small simply shop at your local business in November. To learn more ways to show your support visit www.shopsmallaustralia.com

Key data points: The Economy of Shopping Small Report

Needs and wants

  • Nearly three out of four (73%) small business owners are concerned about the financial stability of their business.
  • Most also view (89%) it as an important measure of the overall success of their business.
  • Additionally, 82% are concerned with the cost and overheads of running a small business.
  • 76% are worried about the economic climate
  • 74% are worried about future cash flow
  • Small business owners want their business to stay ‘small’ (56% agree), yet the top three future priorities lie in the need to push their brand and business further through greater marketing and brand awareness activities (62%):
    • Into new channels, such as social media (59%)
    • New technology (57%), which together enable them to reach a wider audience and grow the business

The emotional value

  • Over three-quarters (76%) of small business owners agreed that setting up a small business was about pursuing a dream, vision and passion or seeking new challenges.
  • For just over two-thirds, (68%), it’s also about proving to themselves it can be done.
  • The pull of serving the community is strong too – 59% agreed this was a major reason for setting up in the first place.
  • When judging the success of their business, an overwhelming 91% agreed it was about the level of enjoyment they received from simply working at the business.
  • Similarly, 83% agreed success was about the lifestyle running a small business afforded them and their family.
  • 82% agreed it gave them the ability to freely pursue a passion.
  • 79% told us their business success was also about positive economic and social impact on local communities.

Consumers and businesses should visit www.shopsmallaustralia.com for more information on the program and its benefits.