Small business owners need more support

From Aussie shoppers.

New research has revealed there is a need for more support from the community to save the future of Australia’s estimated 2.1 million small business retailers. Commissioned by American Express, the Economy of Shopping Small: Back Your Backyard report, gathered insights from consumers and small business owners about the state of small business in Australia.

The report revealed that the strongest backers of small businesses are more likely to be male consumers aged 45 and over living in New South Wales or South Australia. Those who own a small business, or who have a family member who works for one, are more likely to back other independent small businesses.

When it comes to government support, many small businesses are missing out on the resources available to them. Just 8% have accessed government resources, grants or training during the past year. Pointing to this low result is a lack of awareness amongst small businesses about the assistance on offer with only 15% rating themselves as very knowledgeable about Federal Government support available.

American Express vice president of small merchants, Lisa Belcher said, “This research is a timely reminder that none of us can take small businesses for granted and that every dollar spent with a small business counts. Each and every one of us can make a difference by ensuring ‘shopping small’ is part of our regular shopping routine.”

The annual Economy of Shopping Small Report has found frequency of spend in small businesses has fallen by 12% over two years among those who shop at least once a week at a local shopping village, leading to three in five small businesses reporting flat or declining revenue growth year-on-year. Further, one third of Australian small business operators believe they risk becoming insolvent in the next three to five years.  This comes at a time when 59% of consumers don’t believe their shopping habits have any impact on the success or failure of small businesses.

Consumers acknowledged their shortcomings, with 86% admitting they could step up and do more to support small businesses but the majority claimed to have good intentions. This was revealed in the two thirds of shoppers who said they have a responsibility to support local businesses and the growing number who said they prefer to shop in a small business ahead of larger retailers, 53% in 2017 vs. 65% in 2018.

November marks the month of ‘Shop Small’, a national movement founded by American Express to shine the spotlight on the importance of small businesses and encourage Australians to support them. American Express card members registered with the Shop Small promotion will receive $10 credit for every $20 they spend in participating businesses, up to a total of $50, during November.

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