Small Business Saturday Was a Record-Breaking Success

The holiday season is in full swing and we are happy to see it kick off with some great news for small businesses around the country. Small Business Saturday, which took place on November 24, was a resounding success. Shoppers visited small, independent retailers and restaurants and reported spending an estimated $17.8 billion – a record high, according to a recent survey1.

On the California front, CAMEO members and other business assistance organizations were out in full force promoting their clients’ businesses and encouraging them to participate in Small Business Saturday. Opportunity Fund’s CEO, Luz Urrutia, wrote a guest piece in the Mountain View Voice on the importance of supporting women entrepreneurs this holiday season. Meanwhile, Oakland Grown created a Small Business Saturday shopping guide for the East Bay area, many of them clients of CAMEO members. If you have a local holiday gift guide please email it to Daniela and we will post on our blog.

And that’s not all:  

  • Small Business Saturday benefits small business owners in various ways. Fifty-nine percent of small business owners say the holiday offers a significant contribution to their seasonal sales every year. Many of them believe Small Business Saturday helps them attract more and new customers (74%), improve sales (70%), increase awareness of small businesses in their neighborhood (69%), and has a positive effect on their community (66%).
  • Small business owners are optimistic about this holiday shopping season. Sixty-nine percent of small business owners surveyed expect their holiday sales to be stronger this year than in 2017. In anticipation of this demand, 51% will extend their store hours and 36% plan to hire more staff to work the holiday season.
  • Local communities drive this movement. The coalition of small businesses,  local Chambers of Commerce, business associations, and community organizers who rally their neighbors to celebrate Small Business Saturday grew by 4% from 2017. Together, they engaged an estimated 2.2 million businesses to participate through events and activities such as sleigh rides, shopping passport programs, and holiday pop-up markets.
  • People knew about Small Business Saturday and spread the word. Seven in ten American adults were reportedly aware of this shopping holiday. Among those who visited small businesses on the day, 42% did so with friends at family, and 83% encouraged others to shop small as well. Even those who didn’t venture outside participated, with 41% reporting that they shopped at independent online businesses on November 24.

Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to highlight the products and services of small businesses with no brand recognition and tiny marketing budgets. Supporting these businesses should not be relegated to one day a year! Which is why it’s encouraging to know that 96% of the survey respondents said this holiday made them want to shop small all year long. Building on that enthusiasm and spending dollars locally will make sure that small businesses – the true engines of local economies – receive the recognition and support they deserve.


(1) “2018 Small Business Owner Insights Survey,” conducted by Teneo on behalf of American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business.