WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- SCORE, the nation's largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, has published an infographic showing that small businesses now account for 54% of U.S. sales, with 38% of small businesses reporting growth, and revenue trending upward. Business owners report that word of mouth recommendations remain their top source for new customers and sales. Trends show that customers prefer online and mobile shopping, with 88% of customers reporting that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

U.S. small businesses reported consistent revenue growth overall:

  • In 2017: 38% of small businesses reported growth
  • In 2016: 34%
  • In 2015: 28%

Small businesses account for 54% of all U.S. sales, with the largest sales growth seen in these industries:

  • Professional Scientific & Technology Services: 9.1% growth in 2017
  • Healthcare: 8.4% growth
  • Manufacturing: 5.3% growth
  • Accommodation & Food Services: 4.7% growth
  • Retail: 2.7% growth

Positive online reviews and word of mouth drive sales:

  • 85% of small businesses cite word of mouth as their best source for new customers and sales.
  • 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • Consumers spend up to 31% more on products or services from businesses that have positive online reviews.

Despite consistent revenue growth across industries, key challenges hinder business owners:

  • 60% of all small businesses cited "attracting new customers" as their biggest challenge in 2017.
  • 55% said growing revenue was their biggest challenge.
  • 35% said improving cash flow was their biggest challenge.
  • 51% of consumers prefer online and mobile shopping, but:
  • 74% of small business websites had no e-commerce.
  • 29% of small businesses do not have a website, although 92% of small businesses without websites aim to have a website by the end of 2018.

Download the infographic to learn more about U.S. small business sales growth