Hang tight, mom and pop: Survey suggests small business boom once pandemic finally ends

NEW YORK — What’s the first thing you want to do after the pandemic ends? A new survey finds 68 percent of Americans can’t wait to return to their favorite small businesses.

The new poll asked 1,000 Americans to reflect on their time during the pandemic and discovered two in three are itching to support their local businesses that closed temporarily. Just over half of respondents are looking forward to reuniting with their family and friends by hanging out at their homes. The majority of those polled are planning to safely reunite in public, at bars, and in movie theaters.

The summer of you

small business pandemicConducted by OnePoll on behalf of DaySmart, researchers also find 56 percent believe this past summer finally allowed them to feel like themselves for the first time in ages.

As Americans start to get back out there, the top things respondents have looked forward to doing over the summer include attending dinners, concerts, and weddings. Nearly seven in 10 respondents add supporting as many small businesses as possible is a top priority for them during the pandemic.

The top small businesses that people plan to patronize are spas (70%), nail salons (66%), and bars (58%).

Small business blues

The survey also polled 1,000 small businesses owners to see how they’re preparing for this influx of support.

The pandemic hit most small business owners hard, with 55 percent admitting they forgot what they loved about their business until they were able to let people back in. However, many business owners plan to continue to implement pandemic era measures. Seventy-six percent will continue with a shorter work week and 57 percent will maintain contactless delivery and curbside pickup options.

Nearly eight in 10 business owners are seeing a boom in business as the world reopens and people begin to feel more comfortable leaving their homes. In fact, 67 percent say they’re struggling to find the space to accommodate all of their returning and new customers.

“After a year like 2020, it is important that consumers maintain their health but also their happiness,” says Pat Shanahan, CEO of DaySmart, in a statement. “Seeing that engaging with their local communities, including small businesses, has boosted consumer happiness, it is promising for businesses owners as they continue to welcome customers back in-person.”

small business pandemicAfter a year of online shopping and the loss of face-to-face communication, business owners are reporting that customers are requesting more options to customize products and services (40%) as well as better explanations of how their products and services work (33%).

Additionally, 17 percent of business owners say their customers are looking for them to improve their social media presence – and 46 percent of business owners are planning on improving social media pages.

Which platform is best for business?

For businesses who use social media to communicate with customers, 86 percent do so through Pinterest, 83 percent use Snapchat, and 75 percent use TikTok.

Sixty-two percent of business owners say their main emphasis right now is creating more opportunities for customer feedback and 60 percent plan to provide communication in more languages.

“No one expects a complete reversal to pre-pandemic routines. Some aspects of life are permanently changed because people have found them to work better,” Shanahan says. “To keep up with these evolving best practices, small businesses will need to continue to prioritize customer feedback and stay attuned to the conversation around their needs. By doing so, they will attract more business from these newly enthusiastic consumers.”