Small Business Saturday Spending Hits $17.8B

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New York — The ninth annual Small Business Saturday, held on November 24, resulted in record levels of spending, according to American Express. Total reported spending among U.S. consumers who said they shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on the day reached a record high of an estimated $17.8 billion, according to data from the 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey from American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

An estimated 104 million U.S. consumers reported shopping or dining at local independently owned businesses on Small Business Saturday, according to the survey.

“Millions of shoppers came together to show their support for small, independently owned businesses this Small Business Saturday,” says Elizabeth Rutledge, chief marketing officer at American Express. “The Shop Small movement has become a national celebration – people all around the country are turning out to back the small businesses that make our neighborhoods and communities thrive.”

The survey also found an estimated 70 percent of American adults are aware of Small Business Saturday. Among consumers who said they shopped small on the day, 42 percent reported shopping with family and friends at independently owned businesses, and 83 percent reported encouraging others to also shop or dine small. Shoppers also turned out for online small businesses — among consumers who said they participated on the day, 41 percent reported that they shopped small online on November 24.

In a separate survey of small business owners with storefronts, American Express and the NFIB explored the importance of the holiday shopping season. Small business owners expect an average of 29 percent of their total annual sales to take place during the holiday shopping season, and 59 percent said Small Business Saturday contributes significantly to holiday sales each year.

The survey, which was conducted in advance of Small Business Saturday, found two-thirds of small business owners surveyed said they were planning promotions, sales or activities during the shopping days following Thanksgiving (i.e., Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday) to take advantage of the holiday shopping season. Among companies that were planning promotions on Small Business Saturday, 92 percent said the day helps their business stand out during the busy holiday shopping season and that the benefits of participating include bringing in more and new customers (74 percent), improved sales (70 percent), raised awareness of small businesses in their community (69 percent) and the day helps their local neighborhood and community prosper (66 percent).

Looking at the full shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, small business owners are optimistic about the holiday shopping season. More than eight-in-ten (83 percent) said they have a positive outlook on their business’s holiday sales this year, and  69 percent of those surveyed expect their holiday sales to be stronger than in 2017. To meet the holiday demand, 51 percent of surveyed business owners reported they will extend store hours beyond the normal business hours and 36 percent plan to hire more staff for the season.

“Small and independent businesses depend on holiday sales and the shoppers that Small Business Saturday brings into their stores and online shops,” says NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “Small businesses contribute so much to the economy and unique character of our communities, and we’re proud to join American Express to support them on Small Business Saturday and throughout the year.” C&ST