Small Business Saturday: It's Impact and Why to Celebrate

The holiday season is now upon us. As people gather with their families for the holidays, small business owners are buckling down for the busy season.

And while many small businesses will do well, there are still some who will find it difficult to compete with the larger retail chains and online commerce companies.

These types of companies garner the most attention; they have larger marketing budgets and the ability to offer steep discounts. Additionally with Black Friday becoming a multi-day event and over $6 billion spent on purchases on Cyber Monday, small businesses are often forgotten. However, it is the small shops on Main Street that frequently create a better shopping experience with personal touches and offer unique, niche products. To feature these entrepreneurs and raise support for their businesses competing against major shopping holidays, a grassroots campaign took shape to encourage consumers to “shop small.” 

What is Small Business Saturday and Its Origins 

This Saturday, November 24 is Small Business Saturday. This annual holiday occurs on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday celebrates the importance of small businesses and their impact on their communities. Its goal is to encourage consumers to shop locally versus going to large corporate businesses during the holiday season. Small Business Saturday started in 2010 by American Express. In 2011, the United States senate voted unanimously to officially recognize the day. At the time, former President Obama commented on the event saying events like Small Business Saturday “keep our local economies strong and help maintain an American economy that can compete and win in the 21st century.” 

Impact from Small Business Saturday 

Small Business Saturday significantly affects small businesses. In a study conducted by National Federation of Independent Business and American Express, around 108 million people shopped or dined local on Small Business Saturday in 2017. The study also concluded 70 percent of consumers were aware of Small Business Saturday. Here are more statistics about last year’s Small Business Saturday:

    • 73 percent of consumers who shopped on Small Business Saturday did so with friends and family. 
    • Nearly half (48 percent) of Small Business Saturday participants went to a small business they never visited before. 
    • Since the start of Small Business Saturday in 2010, it is estimated $85 billion was spent at small, independent stores and restaurants on Small Business Saturdays.

Importance of Small Business Saturday and How to Celebrate 

Small businesses are important to the communities they serve and the influence they make on the economy. With Small Business Saturday tomorrow, it is time to start planning your day. American Express created a map of small businesses participating in the day. People are encouraged to share their Small Business Saturday experience using the hashtag #ShopSmall. 

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