More than 64% of small-business owners polled say revenue is down as a result of increased gas prices, and more than a quarter of those polled say they will have to lay off employees, according to a survey conducted on DollarDays.com.
DollarDays, a subsidiary of America’s Suppliers, Inc., is a premier Internet-based product wholesaler to small businesses and local distributors. […] The company frequently polls its customers about topical issues as it relates to small businesses.
According to the results, 64% say revenue has decreased as gas prices have increased and 58% say their customers are driving less, which means fewer shopping excursions, and they say they expect it to worsen with the upcoming summer months.
“Unfortunately, this is what we expected from this poll,” says Marc Joseph, President and CEO of DollarDays. “With the recession and increasing fuel and food prices, being a successful small-business owner is incredibly tough.”
However, according to Joseph, as fuel prices increase, so does online shopping. As a result, one of DollarDays’ programs is helping their customers to create robust online stores to supplement their neighborhood stores.
“The Internet is a lifeline for small business,” says Joseph. “Just because a small business has a website, it doesn’t mean it has a shopping function or the right products. We offer our clients a one-stop shop for opening an online store, including the technology, products and consultants to help in both online and neighborhood stores. We want small business[es] to succeed, and if people aren’t driving to them, it’s imperative for small businesses to reach customers another way.”
Joseph suggests that a recent report from Reis Inc., a real estate research company, emphasizes the desperation small businesses face. According to the report, strip malls and other neighborhood shopping centers, typically home to small businesses, have a higher vacancy rate when compared to malls. In fact, Reis predicts the vacancy rate is expected to top 11.1% later this year, up from 10.9%, making it the highest level since 1990.
“Gas prices are expected to continue to rise, and we’re headed into the summer and hurricane months, where prices typically increase, so it’s no wonder there’s not much optimism. It’s a scary time.”
Survey results include:
- Only 10% of small-business owners are offering financial supplements to help their employees as a result of increased gas prices.
- Fifty-seven percent of small-business owners expect a decrease in tourism over the next three months, while 26% don’t expect a change and 15% expect an increase.
- Sixty-seven percent of small-business owners have changed their personal travel plans as a result of higher gas prices.
Joseph says online stores are a great way for small businesses to expand sales beyond their neighborhood, and, at this point, he says, “the only loss is in not trying.”