Will Small Business Saturday Grow Into a Year-Round Way of Shopping in 2020?

For 10 years, American Express has promoted Small Business Saturday as a way to encourage shopping locally during the holiday season. With this year’s revenue estimated to have reached a record of $19.6 billion on Saturday, Nov. 30, American Express has said it will expand the “shop small” idea into a year-round practice — and consumers are on board.

According to the 2019 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, conducted by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business, 95% of consumers reported that participating in Small Business Saturday made them want to shop at independent businesses year-round. This has impacted American Express’ approach to the annual event.

“With the current and future retail landscape evolving, it has become more important than ever to back the small businesses that are vital to creating thriving communities,” said Marianne Rausch, VP of Small Business Saturday and Shop Small at American Express. “For year 10 of Small Business Saturday, we continued to build and strengthen the sense of community in neighborhoods across the country, but are now looking to inspire consumers to ‘shop small’ all year long.”

Small Business Saturday has generated an estimated $120 billion in revenue over its 10-year history, and spending has continued to grow, increasing by nearly $2 billion from 2018’s reported consumer spend. Additionally, awareness is high: 70% of surveyed Americans said they are familiar with the day. Of those who participated, 97% reported that small businesses are essential to their communities.

Nevertheless, the shifting retail landscape has made it even more challenging for independent merchants to compete, which is why American Express this year introduced a guide and The Big Future of Shopping Small experience. The latter aimed to inspire small business owners with ideas for the next 10 years of retail, highlighting new technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality, as well as showcasing innovating brands and reimagined physical shopping spaces.

“We are committed to helping small merchants grow their businesses, whether it is through marquee initiatives like Small Business Saturday in the U.S., helping to prevent fraud or introducing new policies and programs that make accepting American Express easier and more seamless,” said Anré Williams, group president of global merchant & network services for American Express.

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