We see (and share) many lists related to cities and their small businesses. Most focus on the biggest, best or some unique attribute related to the company that sponsored the research. However, this list from PayPal is somewhat unique because it is based on actual data, not an opinion survey or collection of factors that can influence the nuances of the research.

U.S. Cities With Fastest Year-Over-Year Growth in Small Business Ecommerce

  1. Fargo-Valley City, North Dakota
  2. Lafayette, Indiana
  3. Odessa-Midland, Texas
  4. Traverse City-Cadillac, Michigan
  5. Jackson, Mississippi
  6. Watertown, New York
  7. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas
  8. Casper-Riverton, Wyoming
  9. Charlottesville, Virginia
  10. North Platte, Nebraska


Okay. We’ll admit it’s a bit challenging to understand exactly what this top ten list actually measures. According to PayPal, these are the “fastest growing small business markets determined by Year over Year (YoY) Total Payment Volume (TPV) as of May 2015.” A consideration to take (translation: we’re guessing), the payment volume also could have a tight correlation to the cities where PayPal has been most successful in getting small businesses to add the PayPal button as a payment option.

However, even if the volume is a measurement of PayPal’s ability to get a bigger piece of the payments pie, it’s still an indication of something significant and counter-intuitive to most.

The cities on this list are primarily in America’s Heartland.

This list includes some city names that may be unfamiliar to people who live in urban centers near large bodies of water. For some of these cities, this could be the first time they’ve ever made it onto a list that includes a reference to technology. In other words, this is a list that reveals there’s something significant happening outside the locations where VCs live and recent engineering grads flock.

This list reveals that ecommerce, while still used by only a fraction of small businesses, could be seeing its biggest growth in markets outside the coastal early-adopting meccas. It would make sense that the fastest rates of growth can be found in places with the lowest basis on which to begin. (If there were five small businesses using ecommerce in Fargo last year and 50 this year, the growth rate would be out the roof.)

Others cities with small businesses having fast rates of growth in  ecommerce volume

Lafayette, Louisiana; Sioux Falls (Mitchell), South Dakota; Juneau, Alaska; Bowling Green, Kentucky; Davenport-Rock Island-Moline, Illinois; Indianapolis; Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill, West Virginia; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Rapid City, South Dakota; and Eugene, Oregon.

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