The second issue of METRO's Own Business Study works towards a better understanding of independent businesses around the world. Building on the findings from 2017, the study looks at what consumers across the globe think about independent businesses, business owners’ experiences, how governments can support independent businesses and what else is needed to help them. For this year’s study, METRO has again surveyed 10,000 people in ten countries, among them 1,500 business owners. "METRO's purpose is to be the champion for independent business. Therefore, we constantly look into the needs of business owners and stand up for them. Their success is vital for the diversity and well-being of our communities. Our study is providing leverage on how to support them in their daily struggle", says Philippe Palazzi, COO of METRO AG.
The study findings are presented in the representative Own Business Study METRO commissioned on the occasion of Own Business Day on 9 October, 2018 in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Turkey and Romania. The White Paper "Supporting independent businesses is everyone's business' is available at www.metroag.de/en/media-centre/publications. These are some of the study's most important findings:
Independent business owners face many challenges - and have a clear idea about what could help them
Business owners often face economic and bureaucratic hurdles and are most concerned about the amount of taxes (33%), income security (31%) and the general economic situation in their respective countries (31%). Many business owners know a way to tackle these issues, namely, through local government support. 61% said that reducing and simplifying taxation is by far the most important factor that would help them directly.
For consumers it is pretty obvious that businesses are the backbone of our economies and neighbourhoods
METRO found that independent businesses are held in high regard across the globe. According to 42% of all consumers surveyed, independent businesses make a valuable contribution to the local economy. In comparison, only 12% said the same about non-independent businesses. Similarly, 39% of consumers consider independent businesses important for the diversity of the area where they live. Only 12% said this applies to non-independent businesses.
The study found that consumers value independent businesses, not least through their buying behaviour: 33% of all consumers prefer to shop at independent businesses - almost three times as much as those who prefer non-independent businesses (12%).
They do so for different reasons: to show support for their local community (37%), because they appreciate the better quality at independent businesses (36%), or because they like to buy from people they know personally (32%).
Independent businesses lack visibility - fewer than half have a website
The Own Business Study revealed appreciation and support for independent businesses. However, a staggering 63% of consumers have difficulties finding independent businesses, suggesting that it can be difficult to actually express this support. This is partly due to the lack of visibility: 75% of consumers said they do not see many ads from independent businesses. Two thirds of consumers claimed that independent businesses lack an online presence. This is reflected in the fact that fewer than half of all business owners being asked have a presence on social media at all (46%), and only 42% have their own website.
"It is great to see the high level of appreciation for independent businesses across the globe. The study confirms their essential role for people, their neighborhoods and our local economies. People trust in the quality of goods and services of the business people they know", says Philippe Palazzi. "However, the study also shows that there is a strong need for own businesses to be more visible, otherwise they might miss out opportunities to realise their potential. It must be easier to find information about them."
METRO offers its customers various tools and services to enhance their visibility and to help them attract their customers. In 2016 METRO initiated the first Own Business Day, which is celebrated every year on the second Tuesday of October. It is a day dedicated to independent business owners and their achievements, to give them recognition. All businesses and the exclusive specials offered in all 25 METRO-countries and further information about this year’s Own Business Day on 9 October 2018 and can be found on www.own-business-day.com
METRO is a leading international specialist in wholesale and food retail. The company operates in 35 countries and employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. In financial year 2016/17, METRO generated sales of approximately €37 billion. The company provides custom solutions to meet the regional and international needs of its wholesale and retail customers. With its sales brands METRO/MAKRO Cash & Carry and Real as well as delivery services and digitisation initiatives, METRO sets the standards for tomorrow: for customer focus, digital solutions and sustainable business models.