Small Retail Businesses' Varied Perceptions of Market Competition
This study aimed to investigate: (1) how small businesses perceive market competition within/outside the community and what their underlying reasons are; and (2) how their perceived competition varies with the level of business revenue and innovativeness. Potential samples were selected using ReferenceUSA.com. We interviewed 51 small business owners/managers in eight southeastern cities, focusing on stores that carry non-durable products (e.g., fashion goods). This study found that 45% of participants expressed increasing competitive pressures and threats, whereas 55% did not feel competition. Multiple-response crosstab analysis showed that the majority (73%) of the businesses with higher revenue did not feel competition, whereas the businesses with lower revenue had a split view on perceived competition. This study revealed that small businesses might not fully understand or recognize the nature of post-recession competition or thoroughly scan their external business environment. Small businesses must specify their strongest competition and broaden perceptions of potential competitors.