104 Million Shoppers Hit Local Stores to Spend Record Amounts on Small-Business Saturday

Amazon and Target weren’t the only ones pulling in record sales this weekend.

Small-Business Saturday, which encourages consumers to spend their dollars at independent retailers and restaurants during the U.S.’s busiest shopping holiday weekend, appears on track to smash its own sales record for 2018.

American consumers reported spending an estimated $17.8 billion at small businesses on Nov. 24, according to a new survey of close to 2,500 adults conducted by advisory firm Teneo on behalf of American Express (which created Small-Business Saturday in 2010) and the National Federation of Independent Business. This easily topped last year’s total of $12.9 billion and 2016’s record of $15 billion.

An estimated 104 million shoppers turned out to mom-and-pop shops and local businesses this year, the same survey found, as awareness of the event reached around 7 in 10 American adults. And as more small businesses seize the opportunities that e-commerce affords, digital sales continue to capture a bigger share of the day’s revenues.

According to Adobe Analytics, which is tracking online sales in real time throughout Black Friday weekend, online spending reached $3.02 billion on Saturday, up 25.5 percent over 2017. This figure was nearly as high as the new record set by Thanksgiving Day online sales, which this year reached $3.7 billion.

Of course, there are additional costs for small businesses to think of when selling online during a sales holiday, since free shipping and free extended returns are table stakes among larger retailers at this time of year and the competition is fierce from giants like Amazon, Target and Walmart, all of which can afford to offer deep discounts. Still, those that get it right will also win with consumers, 6 in 10 of whom said they planned to shop both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores this year, according to The NPD Group Inc., a market research company.

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