HarborOne Bank poll finds consumers in MA and RI are enthusiastic about supporting small businesses in their communities

(Brockton, MA) – May 11, 2022 – A survey of consumers by HarborOne Bank found there is tremendous support for local small businesses in Massachusetts and Rhode Island – with a larger share of spending expected to flow to local merchants and service providers as in-person shopping resumes.

Consumers in the HarborOne footprint of Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island also reported strong support for helping small businesses recover following two years of significant challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, 91 percent of those polled said their communities “should be doing more to support small businesses.”

“The HarborOne Bank Consumer Perceptions survey delivers encouraging news for the many small local businesses that serve the communities in our banking footprint,” said HarborOne Bank President and Chief Operating Officer Joseph Casey. “There is no question that people in Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island are eager to patronize local merchants, restaurants, and service providers as more in-person spending resumes and strengthens.”

According to the survey, which was conducted for HarborOne by Seven Letter Insight, consumers in the bank’s footprint believe their local economies are performing better than the nation as a whole. That may be a strong indicator that people in Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island are more ready to begin spending than those elsewhere in the U.S.

Of all respondents surveyed, 86 percent described the current local economy where they live to be at least “fair” compared to just 68 percent combined who described the national economy in that way. More than 40 percent of those polled said their spending habits decreased over the past two years. The COVID-19 pandemic starting point in the U.S. is generally considered March 2020.

Encouraging news: 54 percent of respondents said they have now “resumed shopping, dining and purchasing with the same volume that (they) did before the pandemic.” Another 32 percent said they plan to do so. Convenient location ranked second only to the quality of products and services as the top factors respondents value when patronizing a small business.

The HarborOne Bank Consumer Perceptions poll surveyed 452 respondents from Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island across six income categories. The survey was completed at the end of March and has a margin of error of plus- or minus- 4.6 percent.

Prior to March 2020, of the consumers who were surveyed, only 13 percent did more than three quarters of their shopping with local small businesses. More than 25 percent did zero such local spending. As consumers return to pre-pandemic levels of shopping, dining and purchasing, a window is open to influence their decisions.

“A useful takeaway from these findings for the small businesses in HarborOne’s footprint is that the moment is now for them to capture a larger share of consumer spending as old buying and shopping habits resume,” said Matt George, Partner and Head of Research for Seven Letter and founder of Seven Letter Insight. “We’ve learned that many consumers in Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island are already reformulating their spending habits. They’ve told us overwhelmingly they want to support local businesses and are making plans to do so. That’s important information for strategic business planning.”

About HarborOne Bank
HarborOne Bank, headquartered in Massachusetts, with $4.6 billion in assets. HarborOne Bank serves the financial needs of consumers, businesses, and municipalities throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island through a network of 30 full-service branches, and two commercial loan offices in Boston and Providence. The Bank also provides a range of educational services through “HarborOne U,” with content and classes available on personal finance and small business delivered virtually as well as at community locations throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island. HarborOne Mortgage, LLC, a subsidiary of HarborOne Bank, is a full-service mortgage lender with offices throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire and is licensed in seven additional states.

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