Businesses Remain Optimistic About 2019, Despite Market Uncertainty, Thrive Analytics Study Finds

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Hiring More Employees and Investing in Technology Are Top Priorities

Local Pulse Report
"Optimism continues to run high for many small businesses," said Jason Peaslee, managing partner of Thrive Analytics. "Right now one of the biggest challenges is finding qualified workers to fill positions."

Thrive Analytics, a digital marketing research and customer engagement strategy consulting firm, released its latest Local Pulse Report™, highlighting key small and medium sized small business trends. The study reveals that optimism remains high, despite fluctuations in the stock market and the ongoing trade disputes. Sixty-five percent of businesses expect their sales to increase and 48% expect economic conditions to improve this year. When asked what were the biggest hindrances to growth over the past 12 months, lack of funding (30 percent), and not having enough people /resources to do more business (30%) were among the top reasons.

"Optimism continues to run high for many small businesses," said Jason Peaslee, managing partner of Thrive Analytics. "Right now one of the biggest challenges is finding qualified workers to fill positions."

In fact, these are two areas businesses plan to address this year. Nearly half (45%) of businesses plan to hire more employees and 40% will invest more in their businesses.

Marketing Budgets & Technology Adoption Will Get a Boost
Marketing budgets will get a boost with 46 percent of SMBs planning to increase their budgets this year. Top growth areas include mobile advertising (58 percent), SEO (44 percent), SEM (42 percent), online video (40 percent) and social media (40 percent). Nearly half of SMBs (45 percent) stated they were increasing investments in these areas because they view them as more strategic sources of leads, followed by the need to do it to stay competitive (35 percent).

"Marketing and cloud-based technology are areas that will see growth. Businesses will be spending more on digital solutions and they will be migrating to cloud-based technology that can help their business become more efficient," added Peaslee.

In addition, 30 percent of businesses will be investing more in cloud-based technology. Top areas include accounting services (21 percent), marketing & advertising services (20 percent), POS and payment processing services (20 percent), and payroll services (18 percent).

Thrive Analytics' 2019 Local Pulse Report™ is a comprehensive study covering SMB outlooks, marketing budgets, technology adoption, challenges & opportunities for marketing service providers, satisfaction levels with products and more.
Other critical findings from the 2019 Local Pulse Report™ include:

  • 62 percent of business owners don’t know what marketing services they should buy after purchasing an initial digital service.
  • 30 percent of businesses feel mobile technology will have the biggest impact on their business over the next 2-3 years.
  • 50 percent of businesses have abandoned a do it yourself service because it was too complicated.
  • 35% of business still don’t have a website.

Local Pulse Report™ Methodology
The full study, is available to Thrive Analytics research subscribers. Data highlighted in this release was from Thrive Analytics' Local Pulse survey conducted on small businesses and fielded in December 2018 through Thrive Analytics' partner panel network. 3,500 small businesses in the United States responded to the survey.

About Thrive Analytics
Thrive Analytics is a leading local search and digital consulting firm specializing in combining targeted marketing research and data analytics with actionable customer engagement strategies for improved business results. With clients spanning leading national brands as well as publishers and agencies serving the small business community, Thrive Analytics pairs proprietary market research services and data analytics tools with time-tested business insights and methodologies to help organizations measurably improve customer experience, loyalty and sales results. Founded in 2010, Thrive Analytics is a privately held company headquartered in Kettering, Ohio.

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