Quarterly Survey Finds Confidence of Small Business Owners Continues to Climb, Despite Trade Concerns
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. and SAN MATEO, CA, May 1, 2018 — CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, and SurveyMonkey, the world's leading People Powered Data platform, today announced the results of their quarterly CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey. Each quarter, CNBC and SurveyMonkey poll over 2,000 small business owners aiming to measure the vitality of the American economy as well as the view from Main Street on jobs, taxes and other hot topics. In addition to measuring small business confidence nationwide, the large sample size gives CNBC the power to uncover trends by geographic region and among specific small business cohorts.
Key findings from the Q2 CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey include:
- 53% percent of small business owners surveyed say overall business conditions are good, up from 47% in the first quarter of 2018 and 38% in the second quarter of 2017. This marks the first time since CNBC and SurveyMonkey began polling small businesses a year ago that a majority say business conditions are good.
- 28% of small business owners expected changes in trade policy to have a negative effect on their business, up from 17% in the first quarter of 2018.
- Recent troubles at Facebook, including public outcry over its use of personal data and the threat of government regulation, have not significantly impacted small business owners' use of the platform:
- One quarter of small business owners say they have advertised on Facebook in the past few months. Among this group, 45% plan to keep spending about the same amount on Facebook advertising in the coming months, while 28% plan to spend more and 25% plan to spend less.
- Among those who have advertised on Facebook recently, 44% believe social media regulation would "make no difference" in their ads' effectiveness, while 34% believe it would make their ads less effective and 19% believe it would make their ads more effective.
- Overall, a plurality of small business owners (44%) say Amazon is bad for small businesses in general, and 11% say they directly compete with Amazon for customers.
- 5% of small business owner respondents have an Amazon storefront.
- Only 43% of those who use Amazon Storefront say Amazon helps drive customers to their business and 37% of those with an Amazon Storefront say Amazon is bad for small businesses.
CNBC Small Business Reporter Kate Rogers will reveal the results of the CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey today, Tuesday, May 1st throughout CNBC's Business Day programming. For more information on the survey including the full results and methodology and in-depth articles, go to: https://www.cnbc.com/cnbc-survey-monkey-small-business-survey/.
"This survey marks a full year since we launched the Small Business Confidence Index, giving us our first look at year-on-year confidence among small business owners," says Jon Cohen, chief research officer at SurveyMonkey. "With five consecutive quarters of data we've seen relative stability in the index itself, but also clear evidence of improvements in assessments of the current business climate and a surge in confidence around revenue and hiring. At the same time, growing concerns over trade policy threaten to upset the upward trajectory."
SurveyMonkey created a unique Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI), which is a 100 point score based on responses to eight key questions. The index is calculated on a scale from 0–100 and is based on the responses to eight key questions. A zero indicates no confidence, and a score of 100 indicates perfect confidence. The second quarter of 2018's SBCI has dipped from an overall value of 62 to 61, indicating that small business owners are markedly more optimistic than pessimistic about the direction their business will go in the next 12 months. This quarter's decline is attributed to a sharp increase in the number of small business owners who expect trade policy to have a negative impact on their businesses in the next year. However, this is a difference within the margin of error for quarter-to-quarter change.
The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey was conducted using SurveyMonkey's online platform from April 11 – April 17 among a national sample of 2,048 self-identified small business owners ages 18 and up. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Data for this quarter have been weighted to be representative of small business owners nationally, according to business characteristics from the Small Business Administration's 2013 Statistics of U.S. Businesses and owner characteristics from the Census Bureau's 2012 Survey of Business Owners.
*CNBC/Survey Monkey additionally surveyed 10,941 individuals who do not own small businesses. Data for questions asked of the general population have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.
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Founded in 1999 and based in San Mateo, California, SurveyMonkey is the world's leading People Powered Data platform enabling curious individuals and companies – including 100% of the Fortune 500 – to have conversations at scale with the people who matter most. Whether it's a trend in the market, opinions of customers, or voices of employees, SurveyMonkey turns them into actionable data. As a pioneer of the industry, SurveyMonkey is a trusted platform for people to express their true feelings and opinions so organizations can uncover the "why" behind the data. SurveyMonkey's 750+ employees throughout North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific are dedicated to powering the curious. For more information about SurveyMonkey, please visit: surveymonkey.com.