As consumer spending continues to rebound, U.S. shoppers showed up in a big way for the small businesses in their communities during this year’s Small Business Saturday on November 27, positioning American Express’ (NYSE: AXP) 12th annual event to be one of the most impactful shopping days of the holiday season. The results of the American Express 2021 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey show that total reported projected spending among U.S. consumers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached an estimated $23.3 billion1, up 18% from $19.8 billion in 20202 and an increase from pre-pandemic spending in 2019 ($19.6 billion).
Over the past 12 years, consumers reported spending an estimated $163 billion at small businesses on Small Business Saturday, since American Express started the movement in 20103. This year, thousands of American Express Neighborhood Champions across all 50 states celebrated Small Business Saturday in their local communities.
“This Small Business Saturday, communities coast to coast came together to show their support for the small businesses they cherish,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, Chief Marketing Officer at American Express. “We can all make a difference when we Shop Small® and American Express is committed to encouraging consumers to do so all year long through our goal to drive $100 billion in consumer spending at small businesses over the next five years”.
As communities continue to navigate the effects of the pandemic, particularly underrepresented business owners who were hit harder, consumers say they are being mindful about the businesses they frequent this season, with 64% of those surveyed stating they make it a priority to seek out and shop at underrepresented-owned businesses in their communities.
“Small Business Saturday is a way for us to engage with our community and show people why it’s important for us to have each other’s backs,” said Ali Rose of Genusee, a Flint Michigan-based eyewear company. “We’re here because we want to create jobs in our community, not just to sell items, because creating local employment is as important as having special places to shop and gather together”.
A majority (79%) of consumers understood the importance of supporting the small businesses in their community on Small Business Saturday this year and 66% reported that the day makes them want to Shop Small all year long. In addition, the 2021 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey revealed that online shopping, an important source of revenue for small businesses, was up slightly on the day, with 58% of shoppers making a purchase online, compared to 56% in 2020 and 43% in 2019.
With small businesses in need of continued support to help navigate the effects of the pandemic, American Express is asking consumers to prioritize shopping at independent retailers in their community throughout the holiday season. New research released earlier this month by American Express found that consumers shopping small throughout this holiday season have the potential to contribute an estimated $695B into the U.S. small business economy5. In the same study, 78% of independent retailers said these holiday sales are critical and will enable them to stay in business in 2022.
Consumers can find American Express accepting small businesses in their community to shop at all holiday seasons long through the Shop Small Map.