— New findings reveal independent merchants anticipate continued growth while public policies and the gradual adoption of secure payment technologies remain top of mind —

NEW YORK (August 4, 2015)  – ShopKeep, the cloud-based technology provider used by more than 18,000 retail shops, restaurants, and other organizations, today announced the release of the Q2 2015 ShopKeep Small Business Index (SSBI). The SSBI, which draws upon insights gathered from a survey of 1,260 ShopKeep merchants as well as second quarter same-store sales data, reveals unprecedented growth for ShopKeep merchants and confidence in the future of their businesses, despite decreasing optimism in the strength of the national economy as a whole.

This quarter, survey respondents reported their highest revenue and optimism to date. Ninety-six percent of business owners are confident about the current state of their businesses and 98% of respondents expressed optimism about the success of their businesses one year from now. Notably, 79% of small business owners surveyed reported an increase in revenue over the past six months and 92% expect an increase over the next six months.

Other noteworthy economic findings include:

  • ShopKeep same-store sales data has shown positive growth within all business categories, including quick service restaurants, bars and retail. The SSBI identified an average of 23.1% year-over-year increase in sales revenue, a staggering 11% increase from Q1 2015 and more than six times higher than the forecasted national average of 3.5%.
  • Coupled with a 15.4% year-over-year increase in sales transactions, the SSBI identified a correlation in revenue increases with business owners opting to implement sustainable growth strategies as opposed to merchants simply raising prices.

Despite strong profits, ShopKeep merchants expressed a decrease in confidence when asked about the national economy. Specifically, confidence in the U.S. economy has decreased 5% from the previous quarter to 75%; though still a favorable number, only 39% of respondents believe the economy is stronger today compared to one year ago.

“The goal of ShopKeep’s Quarterly Small Business Index is to provide a pulse on the state of small business and to deduce the national matters that impact the health of growing businesses across the United States,” said ShopKeep President and CEO Norm Merritt. “While it is encouraging to track the increasing optimism independent merchants express about the future of their businesses, it is just as important to recognize the areas small business owners are still struggling with, from economic policies to a lack of education about emerging technology. Main Street is the backbone of our economy and ensuring small business owners have the tools needed to run smartly and efficiently in today’s changing business landscape remains a key priority in the present and future of ShopKeep.”

This quarter, ShopKeep merchants were asked to provide insight into key factors that could contribute to the dip in optimism, including trends in hiring, wages and public policy that impact the health and survival of their businesses. Sixty-one percent of merchants surveyed expressed concern about tax and regulatory policies, followed by concerns of attracting and retaining a quality workforce (50%), cost and availability of health insurance for workers (32%), and information stolen through a security breach (29%).

National trends in unemployment and minimum wage remain hot topics that impact the health of independent merchants. Fifty percent of owners have identified finding and retaining a quality workforce as a concern for their business operations, an interesting development as the national unemployment rate continues to decline. SMBs indicated an average wage of $10.83, which is slightly above the $10.29 national average and 49% above the $7.25 U.S. minimum wage. In addition, 80% of small business owners don’t feel pressured to raise employee wages in order to compete with national retail chain wage policies.

“The small business economy consistently contributes nearly half of the country’s GDP, but year after year we see lawmakers creating and enforcing policies that do not support the growth and health of independent merchants,” explained Norm Merritt. “As campaign season ramps up, no question we’ll see numerous candidates claiming to be the small business president. We’ll be keeping a keen eye on the candidates that do have the best interests of the small business owner in mind and will enforce policies that will truly benefit independent merchants across the country.”

Read the full Q2 2015 ShopKeep Small Business Index.

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About the Author

Ayesha is in communications at ShopKeep. She works on building the brand in the media, establishing ShopKeep and its executive team as a resource for thought leadership and innovation.