American Express “Small Business Saturday” Brings In Billions For Independent Retailers

It began with Black Friday—the day after Thanksgiving when merchants across the country slash prices and consumers flock to department stores and big-box retailers to score bargains and jump-start their holiday shopping. But now there’s not just Black Friday. Cyber Monday offers online deals on the Monday following Thanksgiving, and Giving Tuesday encourages folks to donate generously to their favorite charities.

Nine years ago, credit card issuer American Express got in on the holiday shopping game, hoping to give small businesses a boost. American Express offers a number of business credit cards designed for entrepreneurs and proprietors of small and independent businesses. This year, the ninth annual Small Business Saturday brought in an estimated $17.8 billion in spending, bringing the total estimated Small Business Saturday revenue to $100 billion since the first year American Express introduced the idea.

The just-released 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey shows just how successful Small Business Saturday has been over the years, bringing shoppers into independent stores across the United States and Puerto Rico and offering special events and activities to get consumers excited about shopping. This year, New York City’s Empire State Building was lit up in blue to spotlight Small Business Saturday, a life-size gingerbread shop was constructed in San Diego, and there were block parties and jazz festivals in San Juan to celebrate the occasion.

Small Business is Big Business

Small Business Saturday may have started out in the shadow of Black Friday, but it’s become a big day of its own. Seven out of ten adults surveyed said they were aware of the day, and of those who participated in shopping small retailers on this day, 83 percent encouraged friends and family to also patronize independent businesses on Small Business Saturday.

Two-thirds of small business owners surveyed by American Express said they were planning to participate in sales, promotions, or other activities around Small Business Saturday this year. Ninety-two percent of them credited the day with giving their business an advantage during the holiday season, and 74 percent said it brings in new customers. Small businesses depend on sales during the holiday season to help sustain them all year long, making the day an important one. Ninety-six percent of shoppers who patronized small businesses on Small Business Saturday said it made them want to shop smaller retailers year-round.

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