Cities: Skylines 2: How to fix the 'Not Enough Customers' problem

A modern city
(Image credit: Colossal Order)

Trying to solve Cities: Skylines 2's 'Not Enough Customers' issue? This icon pops up over commercial zones from time to time in your city, and it can be a little confusing—especially since it can coincide with a growing demand for more commercial zones. How can your city be demanding more commercial buildings if the existing ones are telling you there's 'not enough customers' to operate?

You may see the 'not enough customers' icon occasionally over a single business here and there, or you may see them over entire stretches of commercial buildings covering several city blocks. Here's what we know about the cause of the message, and a few different solutions you can try.

The commercial demand meter is misleading

The meters that show the demand for residential and commercial zones look the same, but don't treat them the same way. If you see the green bar showing a high demand for housing, feel free to zone a huge new neighborhood spanning multiple city blocks. But when you see the blue bar showing the demand for commercial zones, only zone enough space for a handful of buildings at a time. Let each small commercial zone grow for a while and see if it satisfies the demand while finding enough customers before you build more.

And, as we'll see further down the page, when demand for commercial zones goes up, that doesn't mean it goes up just anywhere.

De-zone some existing commercial areas

If you're seeing huge chunks of businesses showing there's 'not enough customers,' rezone about 25% of them for other purposes (or simply de-zone them). It feels weird to remove businesses when the commercial demand meter is rising, but ignore the demand for a bit. Closing some businesses will help the others stay afloat, and you'll probably see the icons disappearing without seeing a huge jump in demand.

Choose the right area for commercial zones

(Image credit: Colossal Order)

Look carefully at the overlay before you zone. It doesn't just show you commercial suitability by displaying roads as bright green, it also shows you your current customer base in dark green on the terrain. Ignore the light green roads (you can even disable them in the overlay if it helps), and focus on the dark green areas, which can be a little hard to see. Again, don't build a massive commercial zone, just zone enough space for a handful of businesses to move in and see if it satisfies the demand.

Make sure there's parking, low traffic, and public transportation

Even if you've got your commercial zone on some prime real estate, you have to make sure your citizens can access it. Take a close look at the traffic overlay for problems, build a nearby parking lot if street parking looks crowded, and if possible route some public transportation through commercial zone. The easier you make it for customers to reach the business, the less chance it'll run into problems.

Wait for a bug fix

(Image credit: Colossal Order)

It's possible the 'not enough customers' icon is a bug in some cases, but I'm not entirely convinced it is. It does feel counterintuitive that the demand for commercial zones could be increasing while current businesses don't have enough customers, but I think it's more about where the demand for those commercial zones is, and that might not be city-wide. Like I said, the commercial demand meter is misleading. Keeping a careful eye on your overlays while zoning, and only zoning a little bit at a time, is the best way to go. 

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.