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1 in 3 Canadians make a special effort to support local small businesses

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Are small businesses on the rise? According to a new study, nearly twice as many Canadian consumers prefer shopping with small businesses over big businesses — and one in three Canadians (30 percent) are actually making a special effort to support small businesses. Not only that, one in five Canadians (21 percent) would willingly pay more than retail for a product if it meant supporting small businesses.

The new study by Vistaprint, an online provider of marketing products and services for small businesses, found that the top reason Canadians prefer shopping small is because they like to support the local economy. The second biggest reason Canadians prefer shopping small is because they like to support local families and residents — better customer service rounded out the top three. The results of the study pointed to a trend which seems to show that Canadians are missing the personal touch when it comes to how they shop. More than half of respondents (55 percent) said the personal touch of shopping with a small business was one of the chief reasons they prefer it in the first place.

“We carried out this study to help small business owners better understand consumer expectations and identify ways they can meet them,” says Vistaprint Canada Country Manager Cabral Thomas. “Shopping small has proven to be more than just a trend, it’s here to stay. And small business owners can leverage customer preferences to cater to their needs both online and in person.”

When it comes to how they prefer to shop, triple the number of Canadian respondents said they prefer an in-store experience to shopping online (58 percent v. 18 percent). However, well more than half (62 percent) of Canadian consumers believe it is still imperative that a business of any size has a website. Another one in three (34 percent) saying they should be active on social media. But according to the results, only 43 percent of the 1,000 Canadian small business owners surveyed have a website for their company, and 42 percent say they aren’t even active on social media.

The survey also delved into the top barriers to building a professional marketing presence for SBOs and found the top barrier to be lack of budget (36 percent), with the average small business owner spending just $1,667 per year on all marketing activity.

 “Despite their limited resources, some small businesses have identified effective ways to stand out amongst the competition,” says Thomas. “Whether it’s by positioning themselves as experts, targeting a niche audience, or carefully managing their online reputation, businesses can look and feel professional, prepared and plugged in, without blowing their budget.”


Top 10 reasons Canadians prefer small businesses over big businesses:

  1.  I like to support the local economy                        
  2. I like to support local residents/families
  3. Better customer service                                             
  4. It feels more personal                                  
  5. The experience is better                             
  6. They’re in my neighborhood                                    
  7. I trust them more                                                          
  8. Unique products and services                  
  9. Quality of products and services                             
  10. They’re more convenient


 About the study:

 The study is based on a survey of 1,000 Canadian adults from the general population and 1,000 Canadian small business owners (0-10 employees) conducted in March 2019. The Vistaprint survey was carried out by OnePoll, ESOMAR member.

 Infographic and takeaway tips for SBOs:

 About Vistaprint

 Vistaprint is the leading provider of customizable printed and digital marketing materials, empowering millions of UK small businesses of any kind to market themselves professionally and affordably. With over 20 years’ experience, Vistaprint champions small businesses; providing them with the tools and confidence to fulfill their vision. It’s world-class online design studio allows customers to easily customize their products including business cards, marketing materials, signage, promotional products, clothing, websites, and more at


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