Scorpion, an Internet marketing platform based in Lehi, has released the results of a survey conducted on its behalf by YouGov to gauge American opinions on a number of issues pertaining to local businesses, including what it takes to be seen and supported during a pandemic, mask mandates and vaccine expectations.

The survey found that Americans overwhelmingly continue to support local businesses through the pandemic. Of the 2,380 U.S. adults 18 and over surveyed, 68 percent said they actively support their local businesses, which included purchasing goods and services more often (34 percent) and in higher volume (29 percent) than before the outbreak, recommending the businesses to others (31 percent) and choosing locally owned businesses over nearby national chains and franchises (27 percent). Almost all of those questioned (97 percent) said they have maintained their active support of local businesses through the pandemic.

The survey revealed Americans have a much more nuanced attitude toward national chains and franchises operating in their areas, with only 20 percent of those surveyed automatically considering them true local businesses. When asked what nearby national chains and franchises needed to do to be seen and supported as local businesses, 40 percent said they needed to see those businesses contribute to their local communities. National or regional businesses can also benefit from proactive local support by offering goods and services specific to a given community (as reported by 29 percent of respondents), hiring employees that are either from or knowledgeable about the area (26 percent), donating to local charities or community groups (23 percent) or offering more personalized service (21 percent).

The survey also suggested national chains and franchises could improve their status in the communities they operate in by improving in a few key areas where Americans feel locally owned businesses perform better than regional or national business. These areas include:

• Personal interactions: 58 percent feel local businesses perform best versus 8 percent who feel regional or national businesses perform best.

• Uniqueness of services offered: 48 percent versus 9 percent.

• Trust: 44 percent versus 8 percent.

• Responsiveness: 44 percent versus 12 percent.

• Familiarity: 42 percent versus 17 percent.

• Better service: 40 percent versus 10 percent.

• Quality of products/services offered: 31 percent versus 13 percent.

• Reliability: 31 percent vs. 15 percent.

The survey also explored how business owners should handle mask mandates as the threat of new and existing variants linger:

• 41 percent said masking should be enforced among employees.

• 28 percent believe the employee should decide.

• 16 percent said it’s enough to enforce masking only among employees who aren’t vaccinated.

Americans demonstrated a similar stance when it comes to the customers of those businesses:

• 37 percent said all customers should be masked.

• 32 percent believe the customer should decide.

• 17 percent said it’s enough to enforce masking only on customers who aren’t vaccinated

American attitudes toward masking differed only slightly when asked about local service providers coming into their homes:

• Of those who are willing to allow providers into their homes, 45 percent said they would ask the provider to wear a mask while 38 percent would let the individual decide. Thirteen percent would only require non-vaccinated providers to wear a mask.

• Overall, 38 percent reported feeling “very” or “slightly” comfortable asking providers whether they’re vaccinated, edging out the 27 percent who said they would be “very” or “slightly” uncomfortable asking.

“We are incredibly heartened to see how far Americans will go to support their local businesses, particularly in times of crisis. It’s a reminder of the good in the world. These survey results show that American small businesses will continue to thrive, thanks to the people who support them,” said Scorpion CEO Daniel Street. “Our survey also revealed there are ways any company can contribute to their communities and be embraced as a local business. National chains and franchises may operate on a larger scale, but that doesn’t mean they have to be disconnected locally.”

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