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Borrell: Local Advertisers Are Feeling More Optimistic About The Economy.

The numbers are in from Borrell Associates' most recent quarterly Borrell Business Barometer of small and medium-sized businesses, and they show a higher level of optimism about the economy compared to the three previous quarters.

While in those three prior surveys, anywhere from 26-34% of these businesses felt the current economic situation was “poor” for sustaining a small business, vs. 16-21% rating it “good” or “excellent,” the results of this BBB fielded in late February show 27% feeling the current climate is good or excellent, while 21% say it is poor. The last time the former number exceeded the latter was in February 2022, when 28% said good/excellent and 25% poor.

“For the first time in a while, more local advertisers are saying the current economic situation [is] pretty good,” Borrell Associates Executive VP, Local Market Intelligence Corey Elliott says in the latest edition of his “Corey's Local Marketing Minute” video analyzing the Barometer.

As to SMBs' view of the next six months, more local businesses feel the economic situation will stay the same, vs. how they felt a year ago. The most recent survey shows 15% saying it will get better and 28% worse, compared to 21% and 35% respectively in February 2022. “You have less fringe opinions, and more consolidating towards the middle,” says Elliott, who also co-hosts Borrell's “Local Marketing Trends” podcast.

The numbers that really count here are in which direction these businesses feel their ad spend will go in the next six months, where there's little change from a year ago: 22% say they'll spend more and 15% less, vs. 24% and 12% in February 2022's survey. “Overall, I read this as local advertisers [are] being cautiously optimistic,” Elliott says, “that or they are completely sick of people talking about the 'R word' (recession).”

Looking ahead to May's Barometer, Elliott cautions that's usually when a slightly higher percent of businesses say things will get worse. “If past years are any indication, we'll see more gloom,” he said, “but the fact that we have so many saying it's going to be about the same looking forward, only time will tell.”

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