Small businesses face steep competition this holiday season, but quality, extra services and a community mindset are bringing customers in. According to a Comcast Business survey of more than a thousand consumers, 46% of respondents said they are more likely to shop with local or small businesses this holiday season than in previous years. More than half (53%) said they're doing so to give back to their communities and become more purposeful in their shopping, according to the research.
Forty-eight percent of respondents said they go to small businesses for quality items, 45% cited customer service and 44% pointed to unique finds. Respondents said that alternative pick-up options attracted them to small businesses including, BOPIS (44%), curbside pickup (30%) and contactless payments (21%), per the report. Seventy-five percent of respondents also said the ability to shop online was important.
Respondents said they choose to shop at big-box retailers due to cost (65%), convenience (54%) and the variety of products available (46%), the report found.
The survey shows that U.S. shoppers choose small businesses for the customer service, product selection and overall spirit they offer and want to support them during the holiday season, Eileen Diskin, chief marketing officer at Comcast Business, said in a statement.
Shoppers consider the kind of businesses they patronize, including buying from Black-owned and small businesses, with 84% of respondents to the Comcast survey indicating they take those things into consideration. But things have not been easy for small businesses in 2020. In September, the National Retail Federation's chief economist Jack Kleinhenz called the disruption from the coronavirus pandemic "a shock to America's small employers." The industry organization called for more financial stimulus to help small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.
Early on during the pandemic, small retailers lacked the financial backing needed to survive and compete with their larger rivals. As the crisis continues to challenge small and large retailers alike, independent stores have had to get creative to serve customers during an unusual holiday season. The arrival of a coronavirus vaccine could turn things around for remaining retailers, but it may not be soon enough for some.