Small Business Consumer Survey illustration

2022 Consumer Survey

What Matters to Consumers when Choosing a Small Business

Small businesses remain the backbone of the US economy. In fact, 98% of businesses in the US have less than 20 employees, with 96% having less than 10 employees. And virtually every one of those 26.5 million small businesses exists in a crowded market where competition for consumers is fierce.

To win consumers’ business, it’s important for small businesses to remain apprised of their preferences and behaviors. We surveyed 614 US consumers to ask them various questions about where and how they engage with and ultimately end up doing business with small businesses.

Survey Data

The raw results of our survey can be found here. You are free to use the results via whatever means you would like, we simply ask that you credit Service Direct for the survey data.

Summary of Findings

Below are some of the interesting insights our survey revealed.

Word-of-Mouth is Still Very Important

Google is still king, but good old word-of-mouth is queen. 66% of respondents said they typically use Google when researching a small business, while 56% said they ask a friend in person. 32% of respondents said they used Facebook.

Small Business Consumer Survey company research chart

Mobile’s Lead Continues to Grow

66% of overall respondents reported using their mobile device most often when researching a small business.

Small Business Consumer Survey device type chart

When filtering by the 18-59 age group, that number rose to 74%.

Small Business Consumer Survey company research 18-29 chart

Membership in Local Organizations Matters to Consumers

69% of respondents said it was important to them that small businesses be members of local organizations like the BBB or local chamber of commerce, with more than 1 in 3 respondents saying it was either very or extremely important.

Small Business Consumer Survey company organization membership chart

A Big Heart Can Make for a Fatter Wallet

50% of consumers were more likely to patronize a small business if they knew that business supported charitable causes.

Small Business Consumer Survey company charitable cause chart

Having a Bad Website is Worse than Having No Website at All

36% of respondents said they were either unlikely or highly unlikely to patronize a small business that did not have a website. Surprisingly, 51% of respondents said the same about small businesses with outdated websites.

A Recommendation from a Friend Supersedes any Lack of Online Presence

While only 22% of respondents reported being either likely or very likely to patronize a small business without a website, that number rises to 63% if it’s a business being recommended by a friend.

Small Business Consumer Survey company website chart

Videos Build Trust and Connections

50% of consumers said seeing videos from the small business would make them more likely to patronize that business, while only 16% disagreed with that statement.

Small Business Consumer Survey company video chart

Blogging can Help Seal the Deal

40% of consumers said being able to read more about a company and their knowledge/insights via their blog would make them more likely to patronize that business.

Small Business Consumer Survey company expertise chart

Social Posts & Video are the Most Frequently Consumed Types of Content

51% of consumers engage with social media content from small businesses at least weekly, while 35% consume video content. 28% consume email newsletters at least weekly, while 23% consume a podcast and 18% consume blog content.

Small Business Consumer Survey online content chart

A Strong Segment of Consumers Will Opt in to Email Newsletter if Given the Chance

37% said they sometimes subscribed to small business email newsletters, while 19% said they usually do and 6% said they always do.

Small Business Consumer Survey email newsletter chart

Happy Customers Love Promos

An overwhelming majority (80%) of satisfied customers are likely or highly likely to do business with a local business again by taking advantage of a promotional offer.

Small Business Consumer Survey promotion chart

Don’t Sleep on Direct Mail

30% of consumers reported having patronized a small business as a result of a direct mail/coupon offer, virtually the same percentage (30.78%) that reported having patronized a small business as a result of a Facebook ad. Google Local Listing was the leader, with 39% of consumers reporting the same, while a Google ad had succeeded with 24.27% of consumers in the past 12 months.

Small Business Consumer Survey referral type chart

The Rise of TikTok with the Younger Crowd Continues

TikTok is neck and neck with Facebook with the 18-29 age group. 33% of respondents reported patronizing a local business as a result of a TikTok ad (compared with 37% with Facebook).

Small Business Consumer Survey referral type 18-29 age range chart

Not Asking for Testimonials is a Huge Mistake

Testimonials are invaluable when it comes to building a customer base and not asking for them is a huge mistake. 71% of respondents said they were likely or very likely to provide a review after being satisfied if the company made it easy for them to do so.

Small Business Consumer Survey online review chart

Customers Want to Give Online Reviews – Stay Top of Mind

More than half (55%) of respondents said they were likely or very likely to respond to a social media post from a friend requesting a recommendation for a small business.

Small Business Consumer Survey social media recommendation chart

Google Remains the Dominant Platform for Reviews

42% of respondents said Google is the platform they are most likely to leave a review, while 25% said they were most likely to leave a review on Facebook.

Small Business Consumer Survey leave a review chart