It may seem like Black Friday has been going on for a month already, but that doesn’t minimize the importance of Small Business Saturday across the U.S. As those web ads keep following us as we surf and our email inboxes fill up with holiday deals, we thought we would offer a reminder why this coming Saturday, November 27, is so important to many entrepreneurs, small business owners and their families nationwide.
According to American Express, which was instrumental in launching Small Business Saturday over a decade ago, awareness about this day has turned into huge numbers over the past several years. Last year,spending on Small Business Saturday 2020 reached $19.8 billion, a slight uptick from the previous year despite the global pandemic’s impact, according to the company's estimates.
American Express has made it more seamless for small business owners to register and participate for this coming Saturday. The financial giant has also invested in raising the profile of Black-owned businesses across the U.S. For example, in a partnership with the online shopping partner Showfields and the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce, the company has curated an online holiday-themed shopping collection that exclusively showcases Black-owned retailers.
Such a focus is important as many of these small businesses are looking to recover the losses they suffered during the pandemic. Although many large corporations pledged their support to Black-owned enterprises last year, overall those promises have since fallen short. One study has concluded that almost 60 percent of Black-owned businesses ran into large financial risks over the past 18 months, yet many of them quickly realized they had no choice but to pivot and figure things out on their own as federal emergency funds and loans largely bypassed them.
Whether we live on social or traditional media, it’s hard to ignore the constant messaging from the largest online and brick-and-mortar retailers as they keep rolling out new deals in their bid to have us open up our wallets time and again. Based on the fact that these larger companies have had more luck than their smaller competitors in scoring those coveted holiday items on their shelves, the evidence suggests that the deck is stacked against smaller stores.
It won’t be surprising if the largest retailers in the U.S. report a banner year once this season wraps up, but here’s one fact about where many Americans’ hearts lie: The data out there concludes 80 percent of them will likely buy from a small business during the next few weeks. The work of companies like American Express, as well as ongoing social media campaigns with hashtags like #ShopSmall and #SmallBusinessSaturday, is important to remind consumers where they can go to support local businesses.
It’s a pretty intuitive argument to make: When we leave our homes this weekend and hit the local main street or that corner strip mall, we’re doing more than finishing off our holiday gift list. Add that latte and scone at the local coffee house, the lunch bought while taking a break between stores, and picking up any household items that we may need, and the economic impact of our decision to shop local can tally up quickly.
That tally can cumulatively amount to hundreds of billions of dollars, American Express says. “Shopping small” this season, according to the company, could result in a total impact of $695 billion spent in the small business economy. Hence small business owners are counting on the next several weeks to be successful one: 78 percent of the business owners who American Express surveyed said this holiday season’s results will determine their ability to stay in business during 2022.
Image credit: Mac Glassford via Unsplash
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.