In celebration of Small Business Week (April 30-May 6), the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) explored how consumers engage with small businesses in their communities. According to the Small Business Association (SBA) there are 28 million small businesses in America, accounting for 54% of all U.S. sales.

Overwhelming Majority of Americans Spend at Small Businesses

  • 89% of adults patronize small businesses.
  • Almost half (43%) of U.S. adults shop at a small business one or more times a week.
  • Showing similarities across generations, 9 out of 10 Millennials and Gen Xers shop in small businesses(Millennials (91%); Gen X (92%). Baby boomers are close behind with 87% shopping in small businesses.
  • An incredible 96% of adults in the U.S. that have a small business located in their main shopping center tend to shop and visit the store.
  • Shoppers spend an average spend $279.90 per month at small businesses.
    • Millennials estimate that they spend $393 a month, Gen X ($287) and Baby Boomers ($166).

Local Experiences - Specifically in Food - Drive Small Business Category

  • Food service and drinking places  are the most visited small businesses (66%) followed by grocery stores/specialty food shops (48%).
  • More than half (55%) of those visiting a local food and drinking establishment believe the customer service to be better than larger brands.
  • What’s more, small business shoppers believe they get higher quality products at small business food service and drinking places (50%).
  • Millennials are frequent consumers of food and drinking establishments (64%) and grocery/specialty food shops (53%).

Supporting Community Factors into Small Business Support

  • The top three reasons small business shoppers spend at small businesses are:
    • Helping community (48%)
    • Conveniently located to home or work (43%)
    • Better customer service (42%)
  • Close to two-thirds of all adults believe that small businesses help contribute to sales tax and jobs (64%).
    • Over half of all adults also believe that small businesses help bring the community together in terms of local events and sponsoring teams (54%).
    • Proving the value of municipalities in supporting retail real estate, 46% of all adults believe their local government is helping small businesses thrive.

Methodology: The survey was conducted April 17-19, 2017 with 1,014 respondents representing Americans over age 18.