Local is the Rodney Dangerfield of digital marketing; he just doesn’t get the respect he deserves. But when you look at the totality of the data, it becomes clear that the majority of brands and retailers should be focusing much more energy and effort on local digital marketing.
To make it all clearer, I’ve put together a few key data points that explain why local should get more of your attention. It’s not just about plumbers and restaurants. It’s trillions of dollars in offline consumer spending influenced by the Internet.
Only 4% of consumer purchases are made online
You’ve heard the statistic many times: “90% of retail is still offline.” It’s based on US government data. As presented, however, it lacks some context. The statistic also excludes services, where two-thirds of consumer spending occurs.
The United States’ gross domestic product in 2018 was Bahamas Phone Number just over $20 trillion, of which about $13 trillion was driven by consumer spending on goods and services. E-commerce spending in 2018 was around $513 billion, a huge number but quite small by comparison. In fact, e-commerce accounts for about 4% of total consumer spending. (All of these numbers are from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Bureau of Economic Affairs.)
Over 90% of consumers shop within 20 miles
There’s another oft-quoted statistic that says, “80%. Of disposable income in the United States is spent within 10 to 20 miles of your home.” A few years ago, I tried for a while to find the source of this figure, but I couldn’t. It makes intuitive and logical sense, which is why it repeats itself and takes on the force of statistical fact.
Access Development’s 2016 study (.pdf) found that 92% of urban consumers typically travel 15 minutes or less for everyday shopping (eg, groceries, gas, restaurants). Rural residents often travel more than 20 minutes on average for “everyday shopping”.
However, overall, the survey of over 2000 consumers revealed:
- 93.2% of consumers buy from local merchants within 20 minutes/miles of their home.
- Consumers will generally travel no more than 10 minutes from home for frequent purchases made once or several times a week.
- Consumers are willing to travel further from home for regular but less frequent purchases, but generally no more than 20 minutes/miles from home.
Most marketers, analysts, and retailers (until recently) have treated online and offline shopping as separate, independent silos. This has never been the case for consumers, who from the beginning have used the Internet as a tool to support offline purchases. Reading local business reviews online is the most obvious example.
Only 11% of consumers were online-only and only 12% were offline-only shoppers.
One of the main reasons digital marketers have overlooked the offline impact of their campaigns is that real-world attribution has been very difficult, although Google and. A growing number of third-party location intelligence companies are also making digitally influenced local attribution an accessible metric.