Independent Businesses Report Strong Holiday Sales & Growing Public Support

In a national survey, independent businesses reported strong sales growth over the holidays and growing public awareness of the value of choosing locally owned retail stores, banks, restaurants, and other enterprises.

The survey, which was conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in partnership with dozens of trade associations and local business alliances (including Portland Buy Local, which distributed the survey to its members), gathered data from 1,768 independent businesses across 49 states over an 8-day period in January. Among the key findings:

  • Independent retailers, which comprised about half the survey respondents, reported stronger holiday sales than the industry average. While overall holiday sales were up 4.1% in 2011, the independent retailers surveyed said their holiday sales increased 6.7% on average.
  • More than three-quarters of the businesses surveyed said that public awareness of the benefits of supporting locally owned businesses had increased in the last year.
  • Independent businesses in communities with an active “buy local” campaign operated by a local business organization reported annual revenue growth of 7.2% in 2011, compared to 2.6% for those in areas without such an initiative. (“Buy local” campaigns run by Independent Business Alliances and Local First groups are now underway in about 150 cities.)
  • Looking specifically at retail respondents, the survey found that those in areas with an active “buy local” campaign reported holiday sales growth of 8.5% in 2011, compared to 5.2% for those retailers in areas without such an initiative.

For more on the survey results, go here.

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