It is no secret that businesses who know what their local customers want and need have a much higher chance of succeeding and thriving.
That is why the City of Vancouver, in partnership with Small Business BC and 16 local business improvement area (BIA) associations, has launched Bizmap, which is a website that provides the public, business operators, and researchers with free access to highly valuable data that breaks down the statistics of neighbourhoods and business districts.
The website visually lays out neighbourhood population statistics (including size, age, gender, and family structure), population growth trends, ethnicity, home languages, household income, education, homeownership (renters vs. owners), residential structure type, size of business districts, number of commercial properties, zoning type, average commercial lease rates, commercial vacancy rates, business mix within the district, and the mix in size of businesses (based on employee counts).
Data for the 16 participating business districts and their surrounding neighbourhoods are outlined in detail and the website also includes a map feature.
There is also an interface that allows users to compare the data of multiple business districts, which would be helpful for deciding where to open up a business or expand operations.
As an example of the information that can be found, Bizmap’s data for Yaletown indicates 42% of the 842 businesses in the district are small businesses with one to four employees, with the leading business types being retail (16%), accommodation and food service (11%), and information and cultural industries (10%).
Accommodation and food service businesses accounted for 15% of businesses in Gastown, 20% in Point Grey Village, 23% on Robson Street, 23% on West Broadway, and 11% in Yaletown.
Between 2011 and 2016, Mount Pleasant’s population grew by 19.7%, while Dunbar Village fell by 1.7%. Average family sizes in Dunbar Village were 2.9, slightly higher than Mount Pleasant’s average of 2.3 but significantly more than Downtown Vancouver official area, Gastown, and Yaletown at 1.6, 1.6, and 1.8, respectively.
Interestingly, commercial vacancy rates for districts like Dunbar Village, Gastown, Point Grey Village, and Robson Street were not provided.
“Giving businesses the tools to make informed choices based on reliable market data will help local shopping districts grow, creating stronger and more vibrant neighbourhoods,” says Gil Kelley, General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability.
“This new tool gives BIAs, businesses, residents and city staff access to data and market insights that previously weren’t available freely all in one place.”
At this time, eight BIAs have not participated in Bizmap, including Chinatown, Hastings Crossing, Kitsilano, Strathcona, Victoria Drive, and West End.
Table from Bizmap listing the average or range in commercial lease rates within the participating business districts: