The following summary extract from the 2014 Independent Business Survey summarizes the fundamental reason we exist as an organization:
“The Local First movement is influencing buying habits. A large majority of businesses located in cities with an active Local First campaign reported that the initiatives had brought in new customers and/or generated other specific benefits. These businesses experienced revenue growth of 7.0% in 2013, compared to 2.3% for those in places without such an initiative.”
Published in February 2014 by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, this survey is the 7th annual of its kind conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a forty-year-old nonprofit with the following mission: “To provide innovative strategies, working models and timely information to support environmentally sound and equitable community development.”
Here are the Key Findings from the 2014 Survey:
The 2014 Independent Business Survey gathered data from 2,602 independent, locally owned businesses across all 50 states. A little over half of the respondents are retailers and the remainder encompass a wide variety of industries. 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, which
was comparable and, in some cases, superior to the holiday sales results of competing chains.
Buy Local — The Local First movement is influencing buying habits. A large majority of businesses located in cities with an active Local First campaign reported that the initiatives had brought in new customers and/or generated other specific benefits. These businesses experienced revenue growth of 7.0% in 2013, compared to 2.3% for those in places without such an initiative.
Biggest Challenges — Competition from large internet companies was rated as the biggest challenge facing independent businesses, particularly among retailers, 69% of whom ranked it as a very or extremely significant challenge. Other leading concerns include supplier pricing that favors big competitors, high costs for health insurance, and escalating commercial rents.
Internet Sales Tax — More than three-quarters of independent retailers said that the fact that many online companies are not required to collect sales tax had negatively impacted their sales, with 41% describing the level of impact on their sales as “significant.”
Access to Credit — The survey found that access to credit is a major barrier impeding expansion for a sizable minority of independent businesses. While only one-third of the businesses surveyed applied for a bank loan in the last two years, of those that did seek financing, 42% either failed to obtain a loan or received a loan for less than the amount they needed.
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.
We encourage you to CLICK HERE to read the complete survey.
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