Why Consumers Prefer Small Business to Large Companies

Some positive news and potential opportunities for small businesses: according to a survey of American consumers by the Public Affairs Pulse (PAC), many more U.S. consumers say they prefer small businesses over large.

“Americans believe small business owners to be more ethical and honest than the CEOs of major companies,” as the Washington Post summarized the findings.

“In fact, two-thirds of respondents said they prefer to shop at small businesses, even if it means paying more.”

About half — 47% — of Americans think the owners of small businesses have higher “ethical standards” than the CEOs of major companies, according to the survey.

“Only seven percent say that small business owners have low ethics, compared with 48% who think the same of corporate CEOs.”

The survey included 1,753 respondents who were asked their opinions on the following topics, listed in order of positive sentiment:

  • Small Businesses: voted 90% favorable
  • Local Government: voted 67% favorable
  • Major Companies: voted 61% favorable
  • State Government: voted 58% favorable
  • News Media: voted 54% favorable
  • Federal Government in Washington: voted 35% favorable

What’s this mean to small business owners? Combined with the public’s distaste for big business’ Black Friday practices, there seems to be a growing feeling among consumers that it’s a better idea for their communities — and therefore, themselves — to spend their money at smaller, more localized businesses.

You can focus on attracting that business through local marketing, using tools like Google Places or your local Chamber of Commerce. Think of ways your company interacts with the community and build PR or social media messages around them — having local schools or hospitals as clients, for examples, is a big asset to PR and marketing efforts.
Originally published: Nov 16, 2011

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