A national survey of 2,602 independent business owners by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in partnership with Advocates for Independent Businesses and the support of LocalShops1 and dozens of other Buy Local organizations across the country reports that Local First initiatives help boost customer traffic, but policymakers need to do more to create a level playing field between small businesses and large corporations. The survey was conducted online January 2014.
Among the survey’s key findings:
Sales growth: Independent businesses reported revenue growth of 5.3% on average in 2013.
Holiday sales: The retailers surveyed experienced a 1.4% increase in same-store holiday sales, comparable to many competing chains.
Buy Local: More than 75% of businesses in cities with active Local First campaigns reported increased customer traffic or other benefits from these initiatives. They also reported sales growth of 7.0% on average in 2013, compared to 2.3% for independent businesses in places without such an initiative.
Challenges: Competition from large Internet companies was rated as the biggest challenge facing indies, followed by supplier pricing that favors their big competitors, high costs for health insurance, and escalating commercial rents.
Internet Sales Tax: More than 75 percent of independent retailers said that the fact that many online companies are not required to collect sales tax had negatively impacted their sales.
Policy Priorities: Independent businesses ranked the following as their top policy priorities: eliminating public subsidies for big companies, capping credit card swipe fees, lowering taxes, and passing legislation to extend sales tax collection to large online retailers.
The complete report may be downloaded at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
LocalShops1 is a coalition of hundreds of independently owned businesses and tens of thousands of energetic shoppers with the mission of advocating, promoting and offering support services to companies throughout Tampa Bay. Founded in August 2008, LocalShops1 is the region's most active voice for small businesses.