Thanksgiving weekend is fast approaching and after turkey dinner and football, shopping is one of the time-honored holiday weekend traditions. Last year, the National Retail Federation reported that nearly 180 Americans shopped over the five-day holiday weekend.
Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday, a shopping holiday introduced by American Express
After two years of people’s holiday activities being curtailed by the pandemic, they’re more than ready to meet their neighbors and friends on Main Street. Small Business Saturday is a great excuse to get out and about.
It is not unexpected that interest in participating in Small Business Saturday is much stronger this year than last year. More than half of shoppers (53%) said they plan to shop locally or eat at an independent restaurant during this year’s Small Business Saturday. This is the conclusion of a survey of more than 1,000 adults commissioned by Teneo of Kabbage by American Express.
By comparison, only 42% of shoppers surveyed last year expected engagement. That was a bit disappointing 51 million Small Business Saturday shoppers in 2021, according to the NRF. However, it was a precipitous decline in the 60 million customers who participated in Small Business Saturday in 2019.
Shoppers vote with their wallets and they overwhelmingly support small businesses owned by their neighbors and friends. About 79% agreed that small businesses are essential to their communities.
And besides wanting to help keep small businesses afloat, shoppers are drawn to local independent retailers because they can find unique Christmas gifts there (73%) that aren’t available at major retailers.
Despite negative economic headwinds, with some 66% of respondents doing less Christmas shopping this year and consumers expecting to pay more at independent specialty stores, that doesn’t stop them. About 86% of consumers said they’re likely to shop small this holiday season, compared to just 13% who are unlikely to make it.
People crave the real-world connection they get when they shop locally. About two-thirds of consumers said the stories behind small businesses appeal to them, and more than half prefer small businesses to large retailers for holiday shopping.
A counterpart to Kabbage’s consumer survey was conducted among 550 small business owners (SBO). Overall, they expect a strong holiday season, with 64% believing this year’s Christmas sales will be even better than last year.
A strong holiday 2022 will really make a difference for small businesses. SBOs surveyed reported that nearly a quarter of their annual sales are earned between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve.
And while SBOs have a positive outlook for the rest of the year, nearly one in four (24%) say their survival is at stake with the results of the upcoming holiday season determining whether their company can survive next year.
Small Business Saturday 26 November is the official kick-off for the end-of-year run for small businesses. They have been challenged throughout the year by inflation, the need to raise prices and ongoing supply chain issues.
They’ve also struggled with ongoing problems hiring and retaining an optimal workforce, critical to delivering the enhanced customer service that differentiates independent retailers from major retailers.
Still, SBOs have high expectations of Small Business Saturday. More than 52% of those surveyed expect it to make a significant contribution to overall holiday sales and half believe Small Business Saturday is more important than ever to their business.
“Small businesses understand the importance of successfully navigating this time of year,” said Brett Sussman, American Express vice president and chief sales & marketing, Kabbage. “As we approach this holiday season, they are making the necessary preparations and adjustments to win the holiday season.”