Small communities under assault for their business dollars

Online sales are growing, online sales are up 26 per cent on “Black Friday” over last year - from 816 million to 1.04 billion dollars.

On the heels of data showing a record number of shoppers hit the stores over the holiday weekend, one report says spending on the most important shopping day of the year for online retailers – known as Cyber Monday – could surpass $1.5 billion.

This data, originating in the United States, likely parallels the retail situation in Canada pretty closely.

Online sales are growing (again, in the U.S.), online sales are up 26 per cent on “Black Friday” over last year – from 816 million to 1.04  billion dollars.

Earlier this week, Canada Post reported that “accelerated mail volume declines have resulted in financial losses for a sixth consecutive quarter,” noting that the underlying cause was “a historic shift from paper-based to digital communication by consumers, businesses and governments.”

Canada Post also ominously reported that it was “accelerating the transformation of its business,” (read: consolidations, layoffs and business hour reductions) adding that even though e-commerce was increasing the parcel delivery business, it wasn’t enough to offset losses in letter mail volume.

It appears that the increasing trend towards online shopping will accelerate the decline of small town business sections as we know it, as people take to shopping from their homes, and post offices reduce service to compensate for the lack of mail.

Seventy per cent of the American economy is based on consumer spending. It wouldn’t surprise us if that figure was even higher in Canada.

What this means is the small town business landscape will likely look a lot different a few years from now.

We think there will still be a market niche for small town business, but it’s going to take a business  person’s vision and accumen to decide what will be attractive for small town customers to go out and buy locally – and sell to that market. A tough situation, perhaps, but hopefully not impossible – and potentially, even profitable.

 

 

 

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