New Research Reveals Consumers Will Travel Just 17 Minutes To Reach a Local Business

Small businesses need to think much closer to home when it comes to marketing a new study finds, as it reveals that consumers are willing to drive for an average of just 17 minutes to reach a local business.

Conducted by local SEO specialists BrightLocal, the study surveyed a US consumer panel of 800 shoppers and asked them how far they would travel to visit community staples such as the gym, hairdresser, realtor, mechanic, clothes store, bar, restaurant, accountant, doctor and wedding shop.

The data found a clear correlation between the average acceptable journey time of the shopper and the category of local business. While consumers were willing to drive further and for longer to reach specialist services such as a wedding boutique, a doctor or a realtor –up to an average of a 23-minute car journey- leisure based businesses were found to have a much shorter catchment area.

For outlets such as the gym, bars, restaurants, hair dressers and general stores, US consumers will typically travel no more than 12 – 17 minutes by car. One possible reason for this is that US shoppers are much more flexible when it comes to accessing specialist services and are willing to seek out preferred suppliers from further afield. “The data shows that local leisure services such as yoga classes, personal trainers, bars and restaurants are not considered essential to most consumers which means these types of businesses will struggle to capture businesses outside of their local catchment area,” said Ross Marchant, the research coordinator at BrightLocal. “Services such as an accountant, a realtor or a doctor are considered essential which means there is more potential to attract client from further away.

“In today’s economy, it’s difficult for local businesses to know just how much to spend on marketing and where resources should be focused. Obviously mom and pop stores, local retailers and local services are dependent on the local community but, our survey shows that the community often doesn’t reciprocate that demand if location dictates anything more than the shortest of car journeys. This research really highlights just how local businesses need to think when it comes to marketing their business- even a neighborhood twenty minutes away could be a block or two too far.”

The poll split local services into 13 business categories. The results of the consumer panel have been turned into an infographic so local businesses can find the category that shares similar traits to their own and then reference how long consumers in that group are likely to travel for. This creates a blueprint for local marketing that BrightLocal hopes will help businesses direct their resources towards more effective marketing activities. Marchant added, “What this survey does is create a demographic of journey time for local businesses so they know exactly who to spend marketing dollars on and where to direct those efforts.”

The poll found that gender was not a deciding factor in the length of travel with women willing to spend just sixty seconds more in their vehicles than men to reach a local supplier; 17 minutes on average for women compared with 16minutes for men. Age was also found not to influence the decision making process with attraction having little to do with age and more to do with habit. Consumers aged 35 – 64 were all willing to drive between 17 and 18 minutes to reach a local business while 18 – 34 year olds would spend an average of 16.3 minutes travelling and 65+ 15.8 minutes.

The full survey results and infographics can be found at:

Please direct press queries to Rebecca Appleton at Dakota Digital. Email or Tel: 01623 428996.

About BrightLocal

BrightLocal is a specialist SEO software company which produces useful, powerful and affordable tools for local SEO. Founded in 2008, BrightLocal started life as a full service SEO agency before specializing in tools and services for local businesses. They have over 5,000 customers in 4 countries - USA, UK, Canada & Australia.



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