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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : March 11, 2010

MerchantCircle: Merchant confidence still low

Local marketers are beginning to see a gray area way at the back of the train tunnel that is consumer spending. Still, they are reluctant to believe that gray area is daylight and prefer to keep a tight fist around their wallets. According to the latest MerchantCircle Merchant Confidence Index confidence stands at about 60.5 on a scale of 100.

by Kristina Knight

A recent Manta report found similar results. According to their information nearly 60% of small business owners believe their businesses will stagnate this year and 70% believe they might have to cut costs to remain competitive.

Consumer confidence, on the other hand, is growing. Research from The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index shows consumer confidence (in January) at nearly 53 on a 100 scale, up from 50.6 in November 2009.

"While we see merchant confidence in the current economy beginning to return," said Darren Waddell, VP of Marketing for MerchantCircle, "our data reflects that local businesses are reluctant to respond to with increased spending on marketing and hiring. We are encouraged though to see that revenue expectations are up, and that more than a quarter of our merchants saw increased holiday sales over 2008. Many of these signs point toward a healthier small business environment in 2010, and we're hopeful the macro economic climate can support that direction."

The Index reveals:

• 27% of merchants believe the economy is at least 'somewhat' better
• Half of merchants believe they will see increased revenue in 2010 with 25% seeing improvement in revenue through the 2009 holiday season
• Only 17% expect to hire more employees
• 46% believe ad spending will remain flat
• 58% of merchants report credit availability has 'worsened'

Tags: Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, consumer confidence, ecommerce, etailing, MerchantCircle, retail confidence

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