2013 ILSR Independent Business Survey Sheds Light on Buying Locally in Portland

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete last month’s survey of independent businesses by the Institute for Local Self Reliance. The confidential survey was used to gauge how independent businesses are faring in today’s economy, assess the impact of buy local campaigns like ours, and identify some of the main challenges affecting independent businesses.

The good news? Nationally, independent businesses saw solid revenue growth in 2012. More than two-thirds of businesses saw growth, and the average growth rate was 6.8 percent. Even better? This growth, say the businesses, was due in a large part to efforts from “buy local first” organizations like Portland Buy Local. 

Out of the 2377 businesses from all across the country, 52 respondents were Portland, Maine businesses. We are grateful that ILSR was able to track Portland-specific results and report them back to us. Here is what Portland businesses had to say:

71% saw an increase in revenue from 2011 to 2012 (compared with over 66% nationally)

33% of retail businesses saw an increase in holiday sales from 2011-2012

We were very happy to learn that 84% of Portland businesses surveyed felt that Portland Buy Local has a positive impact on their business (significantly positive – 12%, moderately positive – 27%, or a little positive – 45%). 8% saw no impact.

73% of Portland businesses surveyed felt that public awareness of the importance of supporting locally owned businesses had increased in the past year. 0% felt that there had been a decrease. (Nationally, 68% felt there was an increase and 3% felt there was a decrease in the past year.)

When questioned about the impact that Portland Buy Local has on the community:
66% felt Portland Buy Local helped to increase local media coverage of independent businesses.
45% felt Portland Buy Local has helped bring new customers to their business.
43% felt Portland Buy Local has helped improve the loyalty of existing customers.
23% said that Portland Buy Local has increased customer traffic in my business district.
39% felt Portland Buy Local has helped lead to more collaboration, purchasing, and mutual support among local businesses.

45% felt that Portland Buy Local had helped make City officials more aware and supportive of independent business.

One major setback for small businesses on a national level has been the rise in “showrooming,” or the consumer practice of window shopping at local, independent businesses to scope out the desired merchandise, but then purchasing that merchandise at a national chain or online store. In Portland, 63% of businesses felt showrooming was impacting their business. To read more about showrooming and how to counter it, click here.

The other big hurdle for these small business is lack of financing. A whopping 23% of surveyed businesses reported that they were unable to secure a loan for in the last two years. In Portland, that number was 18%.

To read the ILSR national survey summary and analysis, click here. For the Portland-specific information, please e-mail us.

Thank you sustaining members!

Aikido of Maine   /   Allagash Brewing Co.   /   Andrew and Debra Tenenbaum   /   angela adams   /   BENCHMARK Residential & Investment Real Estate   /   Bull Feeney's   /   Caravan Beads   /   Casco Bay EyeCare   /   Casco Bay Frames & Gallery   /   Coffee By Design   /   CornerStone Building & Restoration   /   CrossFit Beacon   /   The Fish & Bone   /   Green Clean Maine   /   Joan Leitzer   /   Teel Law Office, LLC   /   Liquid Riot   /   Maine Business Immigration Coalition   /   Malone Commercial Brokers   /   Marsh Agency   /   Max Ashburn   /   Nine Stones   /   Nomads   /   OTTO   /   Philip Spalding   /   Port Property Management   /   Portland Downtown   /   Portland Farmers’ Market   /   Portside Real Estate Group   /   Renys Department Store   /   Rich Nowak   /   Sebago Brewing Company   /   Stacy Mitchell   /   Summit Case Management Services, LLC.   /   The SunriseGuide   /   Tsunami Tattoo   /   University Credit Union   /   University of Southern Maine   /   Wellness Connection of Maine   /   XPress Copy   /   Young’s Furniture

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