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83 percent of consumers more likely to support local firms, says WebVisible

Survey respondents say community, convenience and personal service among top reasons.

By Kristen SchottPublished: May 24, 2010 09:00 AM

Eighty-three percent of consumers are more likely to support small, local firms instead of larger companies, according to a new study conducted by WebVisible, an Irvine-based online marketing firm.

The survey, which was an effort from the local company and Chicago-based market research firm Synovate eNation, asked 1,000 U.S. shoppers: "What makes you choose to patronize a small, local, independent business over a larger chain?"

Those polled ranked seven reasons in order of most importance, and the top three were support for the community; more convenient location; and personal service.

Other reasons include lower prices; higher-quality products; greater knowledge of owners or employees; and direct access to a company rep if a problem occurs.

Seventeen percent of those polled said they do not choose to support a small business instead of a larger firm.

“While conventional wisdom would say that price should matter most in a recovering economy, it turns out Americans still make purchase decisions based on service, convenience and supporting their communities,” said Kirsten Mangers, CEO of WebVisible.

Here's a look at some of the findings:

Income and age affects price perceptions: 34 percent of those polled with annual incomes under $25,000 placed price among their top three reason for supporting a local firm, while 20 percent of respondents with salaries greater than $75,000 said this was a large factor.

Among those between ages 18 and 24, 33 percent said price was a top factor. Meanwhile, 13 percent of consumers between ages 55 and 64 said price was among the main reasons.

In terms of convenience, 60 percent of the younger age range put this reason among their top three priorities.

Men were more likely to rank convenience their top priority, while women more often said they wanted to support their communities.

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