A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Small Business Saturday was big success around the country: Record levels of spending reported

The ninth annual Small Business Saturday kicked off the holiday shopping season for consumers and small, independently owned businesses with record levels of reported spending.

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 released from the 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey from American Express (NYSE: AXP) and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

Based on this annual survey over the years, Small Business Saturday spending has now reached a reported estimate of $103 billion since the day began in 2011.

Communities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico celebrated Small Business Saturday with special events and activities. From lighting up the Empire State Building blue in New York to crafting a life-sized Shop Small® gingerbread shop in San Diego, to block parties featuring local jazz and salsa bands in San Juan, businesses and neighborhoods showed what makes their communities unique and vibrant. An estimated 104 million U.S. consumers reported shopping or dining at local independently owned businesses on Small Business Saturday, according to the same survey.

“Millions of shoppers came together to show their support for small, independently owned businesses this Small Business Saturday,” said 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 that an estimated seven in ten (70%) American adults are aware of Small Business Saturday. Among consumers who said they shopped small on the day, 42% reported shopping with family and friends at independently owned businesses, and 83% 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% reported that they shopped small online on November 24.

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS DEPEND ON HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON

In a separate, new 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% of their total annual sales to take place during the holiday shopping season, and 59% said Small Business Saturday contributes significantly to their holiday sales each year, according to the 2018 Small Business Owner Insights Survey from American Express and the NFIB.

The survey took place November 5-12, in advance of Small Business Saturday, and two-thirds of small business owners surveyed (66%) 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% 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%), improved sales (70%), raised awareness of small businesses in their community (69%) and the day helps their local neighborhood and community prosper (66%).

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%) said they have a positive outlook on their business’s holiday sales this year, and more than two-thirds (69%) of those surveyed expect their holiday sales to be stronger than in 2017. To meet the holiday demand, half (51%) of surveyed business owners reported they will extend their store hours beyond the normal business hours and more than one third (36%) of respondents plan to hire more staff for the holiday season.

“Small and independent businesses depend on holiday sales and the shoppers that Small Business Saturday brings into their stores and online shops,” said 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.”

From National Federal of Independent Business Kentucky

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