Small and minority-owned businesses had a brutal year and a half; a new survey shows that consumers around the world--especially younger ones--tried to help out. 

Marketing and research firms Sendinblue and Cite Research--based respectively in Paris and Raleigh, North Carolina--released the results of an online poll of 4,199 global consumers taken in June 2021, showing that consumers are prioritizing buying from smaller and minority-owned businesses.  

Forty-four percent of total respondents said they worked harder to shop small than before the pandemic, and 31 percent of U.S. consumers said they purchased more from minority-owned businesses in the past 12 months. And younger people powered the trend, the survey says: Forty-six percent of the Generation-Z consumers and 51 percent of the Millennials surveyed said they increased small-business buys.

Of those who said they tried to shop more with minority-owned outfits, African American consumers were the most likely to report having done so intentionally. That was followed by U.S. consumers overall and high-income shoppers.

The top driver globally for people who bought more from small businesses was "contributing to the local economy," followed by feeling a greater bond with small businesses. 

Whether the affected businesses did anything special to appeal to consumers is unclear, though the study showed that those deploying marketing communications via email fared well. While Generation-Z consumers tended to prefer Instagram, 27 percent of people reported using email more frequently during the global health crisis. Consumers further reported their top desired feature for small-business e-commerce is free shipping, followed by a wider selection. 

Those gains are likely to stay intact going forward. About half of those who had purchased more from minority-owned businesses said they planned to spend more in the future. Fifty-seven percent of those who bought more at small businesses said they would increase those behaviors while shopping in the physical world.