NFIB says shoppers spent record $17.8 billion on Small Business Saturday

American Express and National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released a survey Monday morning showing that U.S. shoppers spent a record amount at locally owned retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.

State-specific data is unavailable, but the 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey from American Express and the NFIB showed a record high of an estimated $17.8 billion spent in communities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico on Saturday, Nov. 24.

“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 70 percent 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, 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 percent of their total annual sales to take place during the holiday shopping season, and 59 percent 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 percent) 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 83 percent said they have a positive outlook on their business’s holiday sales this year, and more than two-thirds of those surveyed expect their holiday sales to be stronger than in 2017. To meet the holiday demand, half of surveyed business owners reported they will extend their store hours beyond the normal business hours and 36 percent 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.”

November 24 was the ninth annual Small Business Saturday. Dedicated to supporting the diverse range of local businesses that help to create jobs, boost the economy, and enhance neighborhoods around the country, Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: getting more customers. Learn more and connect with us on ShopSmall.com, instagram.com/shopsmallfacebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday.