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Exclusive: Customers spend the most money in these small retailer categories

Consumer sentiment rose in July to its highest level since September 2021.
Consumers spend $128 a month at small retailers.

New analysis from Adobe Express reveals why and how consumers shop at small retailers.

According to Adobe Express findings exclusively released to Chain Store Age, these are the top 10 small retailer categories where U.S. consumers spend the most money:

  1. Furniture
  2. Groceries
  3. Automotive repair and maintenance services
  4. Fitness services
  5. Clothing
  6. Pet care products
  7. Eco-friendly products
  8. Home decor
  9. Beverages
  10. Beauty products

Overall, Adobe says consumers have spent an average of $128 per month supporting small businesses, with millennials ($135) and men ($130) spending the most monthly.

Looking at individual shopper demographics, Adobe finds that baby boomers most often support small businesses in the automotive services sector, while Gen Xers opt for beauty products, millennials for art (not in the overall top 10) and Gen Z for clothing. Women most often shop small retailers for jewelry and men for beverages.

In good news for small retailers, almost eight in 10 (78%) consumers regularly shop at them. Groceries topped the list for the items purchased most often from small retailers (as opposed to highest spending total), with 65% of consumers saying they do so regularly. Bakery goods (53%) and beverages (41%) rounded out the top-three categories. 

Adobe also analyzed the top 10 ways consumers discover small retailers:

  1. Friends
  2. Online reviews
  3. Family
  4. Community events
  5. Facebook
  6. Instagram
  7. Local newspaper ads
  8. Local news station
  9. TikTok
  10. YouTube

Slightly more than half (51%) of consumers prefer to shop small retailers in brick-and-mortar stores instead of online, but 31% of shoppers said they had decided against supporting a small business due to their lack of a website. 

This figure rises to 40% for Gen Z consumers, who are also least likely to prefer shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, with baby boomers most likely to prefer physical stores. Nearly two in five consumers said they think it’s important for a small business to have an Instagram Shop and a TikTok Shop. 

Attributes consumers support

Adobe determined consumers support small retailers for these reasons:

  • Local: 64%
  • Small business: 53%
  • Women-owned: 19%
  • Minority-owned: 17%
  • LGBTQ+-owned: 13%

Three in 10 women support women-owned small retailers. By generation, Gen Z had the highest levels of support for women-owned (29%), minority-owned (27%) and LGBTQ+-owned (24%) retailers. 

[Read more: The top holiday sales event for smaller retailers is…]

Adobe Express analyzed Google Trends data from January to December 2023 to measure the search volume of different terms relating to consumer small business interest within the 50 most populated U.S. cities. Adobe also surveyed 1,003 U.S. consumers about their shopping habits to create the study.

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