2023 Brewer Retail Consumer Survey
The City of Brewer’s Economic Development Department conducted this survey in order to learn more about the shopping patterns, expectations and opinions of Brewer’s retail consumers. The survey is part of Brewer’s business retention, development and attraction initiative. The study characterizes Brewer’s retail sector and provides valuable details for Brewer’s decision-makers and for businesses interested in growing their business or locating in Brewer. Business attraction requires up-to-date market analysis, proof of attractiveness and estimations of potential, and this survey provides that.
Excerpt from survey:
Executive Summary & Highlights
The 2023 Brewer Retail Consumer Survey provides valuable insights into the shopping patterns, expectations, and opinions of retail consumers in Brewer. The survey characterizes Brewer’s retail sector and provides valuable details for Brewer’s decision-makers and for businesses interested in growing their businesses or locating in Brewer. The survey found that Brewer’s downtown, Main Street, and waterfront areas would benefit from improvements by both the City of Brewer and businesses in order to become a more attractive destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment. The survey results will guide ongoing economic development initiatives in Brewer by providing up-to-date market analysis, proof of attractiveness, and estimations of potential. The survey builds upon an earlier, similar survey completed in 2008, providing the opportunity for longitudinal market research. Overall, the 2023 Brewer Retail Consumer Survey highlights the potential for retail, office, and residential development in Brewer, especially given the development of the Riverwalk that has increased foot traffic significantly and the addition of numerous successful businesses over the last decade.
• The key findings of the 2023 Brewer Retail Consumer Survey are as follows:
• Respondents reported that Brewer is their most preferred place to shop, with more than 43% of the total responses. Bangor (35%) and online stores (11%) are Brewer’s major retail competitors. When we look at only those respondents who live or work in Brewer, 48% reported a preference for shopping in Brewer, with 28% opting for Bangor and nearly 12% preferring to shop online.
• When asked what types of restaurants they’d like to see more of in Brewer, all categories of dining were selected often, showing strong support for new restaurants of all types. Locally-owned, family-friendly restaurants were the most desired dining option, while fast food establishments were the least desired.
• More dining options and a wider variety of shopping options, along with more live entertainment options and cultural or seasonal events topped the list of desired improvements to Brewer’s downtown and waterfront area.
• Slightly more than 83% of survey respondents reported shopping in Brewer at least once each week, and over half reported shopping in Brewer a few times per week.
• Nearly 80% of respondents reported that they do at least 50% of their total shopping in Brewer, with more than 42% reporting that more than 75% of their shopping is done in Brewer.
• When we look at only those respondents who either live or work in Brewer, more than 54% report that they do 75% or more of their shopping in Brewer, and nearly 90% of these respondents reported that they do at least 50% of their total shopping in Brewer. This shows that although the much larger City of Bangor has a vastly larger number of retail stores, most respondents prefer to do their shopping in Brewer, whenever possible.
• About 58% of total respondents reported that at least half of their restaurant dining was in Brewer. When looking at only those who reported living or working in Brewer, that number rose to just over 66%. The same effect was seen with those shopping in Brewer, demonstrating that the more familiar someone is with Brewer, or the more often they visit Brewer, the more likely Brewer will be their top choice for shopping and dining.
• Social media, online reviews, and recommendations from friends, family, or websites are the main drivers for choosing where to make retail purchases. Vendors should be strongly aware of this and closely monitoring their online presence, including online reviews and both negative and positive posts from customers.
• The survey found that the most desirable shopping areas are located in a convenient location with a variety of products and services available from a variety of both stores and restaurants and offer their wares at competitive prices. While parking, customer service, quality, convenient hours, and other factors also matter, they are of less importance than the convenient hub offering lots of variety for both shopping and dining at affordable prices.
• Brewer’s downtown, Main Street, and waterfront areas need improvements to become more attractive as a destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Survey respondents overwhelmingly offered up suggestions to increase parking, increase the variety of stores and restaurants, and clean up/rehabilitate tired and ugly buildings as their primary advice for increasing commerce in these areas. Additionally, they strongly desire an increase in outdoor activities and outdoor spaces in the downtown, Main Street and waterfront areas. In particular, they desire a splashpad, food trucks on the waterfront, public market/outdoor market, farmer’s market on the waterfront, family-friendly waterfront activities, and more picnic tables.
For full survey please go to this link: