There are just over 205,000 small businesses in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH metro area, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Based on promising retail sales data, the Overall Sentiment Index among local small business owners has improved 33.3% between April 26 and October 12 of this year.
The best news for business owners came from the Commerce Department on Friday when it reported that retail sales rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.9% in September. This is the fifth straight month of gains.
Local retail gains are being powered by improving consumer confidence and a large pool of cash sitting in people's savings accounts.
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 101.8 in September, up 17.9% from August. This means consumers are in a better mood to spend. Fortunately, they have money in the bank to do so.
According to Morgan Stanley Research, since April, consumers have accumulated more than $1.1 trillion in excess savings. In August, for instance, people socked-away more than 14% of their disposable income. This is almost twice as much as was saved during the same month last year.
“Inch by inch, consumers are feeling better even though we have this pandemic hanging over us,” Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation, told the Wall Street Journal. “The fact that there is less spending on services like travel, some of this money is available and going into retail cash registers,” he added.
In September, the biggest retail gains were for clothing and accessories; sporting goods, hobby, books, and music; and motor vehicles and parts. Growth ranged between 4 and 12 percent for these categories.
To compete for a share of expanding retail dollars, local business owners should consider advertising. By almost any metric, advertising on Boston radio is the best way to reach consumers with money to spend.
Each week, according to Nielsen, Boston radio reaches significantly more consumers than all other advertising media. This includes local TV, local cable, newspapers, social media, and streaming media.
Radio's reach is particularly strong among millennials, a generation that accounts for over a third of all retails spending in the Boston area.
Most importantly, advertising on Boston radio reaches consumers with plans to make major retail purchases over the next 12 months.
Radio's ability to reach an overwhelming majority of retail shoppers offers Boston small business owners with an impressive return-on-investment (ROI).
Over the past few years, Nielsen has conducted more than 20 studies to determine what type of return-on-investment (ROI) a business owner can expect from radio advertising. Although the results varied by industry, the average company generated $1000 in sales for every $100 invested.
The chart below shows the range of returns from each study.
AdAge, a trade magazine for advertising professionals, calls these types of return "eye-popping". The magazine goes on to say radio's ROI is superior to commercials on TV, online, and social media.
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