Who Benefits From Small Business Saturday?


I’ve blogged about Small Business Saturday, the festive holiday created by American Express, for close to a decade. Some of these articles have been from a small business owner’s perspective, such as how entrepreneurs can promote their participation to bring in more shoppers. Others have been from the customer standpoint, and how they can get involved as Neighborhood Champions.

As Small Business Saturday heads into its ninth year, it has been thrilling to see consumers opt to #ShopSmall during the holiday season. An estimated 108 million consumers shopped or dined at independent businesses in 2017. Beyond the holidays, 84% of consumers surveyed by the 2017 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey who were aware of the day shared that it made them want to shop with small businesses year-round.

This, of course, is amazing news for the small business community. However, I’m curious as to who benefits from Small Business Saturday beyond the obvious answer that is small businesses and their owners. Which industries receive a much-needed financial boost? What types of businesses are we heading to, state by state? And, what motivates us to keep celebrating Small Business Saturday?

Luckily, a Small Business Saturday infographic was released in the 2017 Small Business Saturday 50-State Survey by the NFIB and American Express last year. It outlined statistics on where consumers are heading on Small Business Saturday and in which states. Let’s take a look at some of the key findings.

Not surprisingly, consumers love to dine out on Small Business Saturday.

Foodies unite, state by state! The infographic from the 2017 Small Business Saturday 50-State Survey revealed that 41% of consumers dined out with their purchases.

Restaurants, bars, and pubs received plenty of foot traffic across the country. Some of the states that led the pack on Small Business Saturday, compared to the national average, included Missouri (43%), Montana (43%), and Oklahoma (45%). Bakeries trailed closely behind their restaurant, bar, and pub counterparts as well. While not as high in foot traffic volume as their eatery counterparts, states like Illinois (22%), New York (24%), and Massachusetts (22%) noted an uptick in visitation popularity.

There’s an endless range of reasons for why anyone would dine out on Small Business Saturday. Consumers could be taking a shopping break or eating with family and friends. 32% of consumers surveyed noted that it’s convenient to dine out at independently-owned businesses — and this could be why these places are heavily trafficked on Small Business Saturday.


Surprisingly? Pet and plant stores got a lot of love.

Maybe plants are less of a surprise here if you consider the holiday season is coming up fast. Small Business Saturday has long been sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and consumers will want to beat the holiday tree, mistletoe, and poinsettia shopping rush at their local nursery. Plant stores are a standout in states across the country ranging from Arizona to Connecticut and Florida.

Groomers and pet stores were also reported to be pretty popular during Small Business Saturday 2017. Businesses in states like Colorado, Maine, and Minnesota enjoyed a healthy rise of shoppers on the holiday. Early pet prep for holiday family photos, perhaps?


Who actually benefits from Small Business Saturday? Everyone.

When asked why we celebrate small businesses on Small Business Saturday, consumers weighed in with various responses. There’s convenience at 32%, a more relevant shopping selection at 26%, and 46% agreed that the customer service is excellent. At 64%, however, consumers stated that they simply enjoy supporting their local community.

This ties back in with American Express’ mission for the day when it was first created. Small Business Saturday was meant to support small, local businesses everywhere. It takes small businesses, long considered the backbone of the U.S. economy, and strengthens them. Ultimately, this pays it forward to everyone. It allows small business owners to increase sales and hire more workers. This helps to boost the economy and community in the long run.

No matter what kind of business you run or the type of present you’re shopping for, Small Business Saturday is a universal holiday for every neighborhood. Everyone can enjoy it and everyone wins from it.




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