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Small Business: Survey Reveals Opportunities for Winning Over Millennials

Worker in Deli --- Image by © Radius Images/CorbisMastercard surveyed 1,500 Canadian adults in October during Small Business Month to find out more about Canadians’ relationship with local merchants in their communities. The poll found nine in 10 Canadians feel it’s important to support their local small businesses. This was shown across all age groups including millennials but opportunities to attract younger consumers will require more digital savvy.

The poll revealed key generational trends among millennials (Canadians aged 18-34), Generation X (Canadians aged 35-54) and Canadians over 55 when it comes to shopping with local independent merchants:

  • In the past six months, 84 percent of Canadians have shopped in-store while 39 percent have shopped online.
  • Millennials were the least likely to shop frequently in-store (28%) but the most likely to shop online (48%).
  • 72 percent of Canadians over 55 said they shop local because it’s important to them to support business in their communities, compared with lower rates for Gen X (62%) and millennials (57%).
  • Half of millennials said it’s the unique product offering that motivate them to shop local. 

Findings pointed to opportunities to attract millennial consumers by embracing online options and digital capabilities:

  • Millennials are already shopping online at higher rates than their older counterparts but the research showed free shipping (45%) and special online deals (39%) would entice them even more.
  • Many said a great website and ecommerce options would make them more like to shop online (31%) and in-store (12%) – 26% said they would be more likely to do both. 

Millennials were also the most likely to demand more convenient payment options:

  • 32 percent said they wish more local small merchants offered debit and credit
  • 18 percent said they wish contactless was available more often

Mastercard gives small businesses the tools they need to use technology to their advantage:

  • The Mastercard Business Owner Toolbox (MBOT) gives small business owners an affordable way to access essential business tools all in one place, including an easy website builder.
  • Local Market Intelligence gives small business access to big data, providing real-time, analytics-based market insights helping to drive important decisions on operations, marketing, and personnel.
  • Master Your Card education sessions, presented by Mastercard, empower local businesses with free final education.
  • Digital Main Street, in partnership with the City of Toronto, is a first-of-its kind initiative where local businesses across Toronto are given access to digital tools and education through Mastercard and other partners.

About the survey findings
From October 12th to October 13th 2016 an online survey was conducted among 1,522 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.