Small Business Saturday – which started as a campaign by American Express in 2010 to support local businesses during the recession and became an official event recognized by the U.S. Senate in 2011 – generated $17.9 billion in revenue for small businesses last year. This annual event allows locally-owned stores to tap into the holiday sales excitement during Thanksgiving weekend while boosting interest in shopping locally beyond the holiday season. 

Here’s what’s in store for the event this year (set for November 25), according to CivicScience data:

Holiday shopping at locally-owned businesses in general is up slightly from last year.

Ongoing holiday data tracking shows that 13% of U.S. adults say they plan to shop for most of their holiday gifts at small or locally-owned stores/boutiques – ahead of the percentage who answered they plan to spend the most at discount, specialty/chain, or department stores. This figure also stands one percentage point higher than last year, but still a decline from 2021 numbers, when shopping locally became a priority during the pandemic to keep businesses afloat.

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Aside from the holiday season, most Americans say shopping locally is important to them.

Similarly, shopping at locally-owned establishments has remained important to consumers over the past few years. As of November 14, 85% of U.S. adults say it’s either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very important’ to them to shop at locally-owned establishments – a figure that is down five percentage points since 2020 but aligns with pre-pandemic levels.

Small Business Saturday looks bright this year.

What can we expect for Small Business Saturday this year? November results indicate that 18% of U.S. adults are ‘very likely’ to shop the event (up from 2022), and another 32% are ‘somewhat likely’ to shop Small Business Saturday. Just 29% are ‘not at all likely’ to shop, and 20% are still deciding whether they plan to shop Small Business Saturday or not. 

Millennial and Gen X respondents are the most likely to express strong interest in shopping on Small Business Saturday – just over 20% are ‘very likely’ to shop the event. However, Gen Z expresses the highest interest overall, as 63% are at least ‘somewhat likely’ to shop Small Business Saturday. Conversely, Americans 55+ are the least likely to shop the event, with 39% saying they are ‘not at all likely.’

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Additional CivicScience data show that Black Friday shoppers overwhelmingly plan to shop on Small Business Saturday this year. Over 6-in-10 are likely to shop on Small Business Saturday – more than double the percentage of those not shopping on Black Friday but planning to shop on Small Business Saturday. That said, there’s still a significant share of non-Black Friday shoppers planning to support small businesses during the holiday weekend. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Consumers are most likely to holiday shop at big-box retailers this year, but small/local businesses come in at second place.
  • An overwhelming majority say shopping at locally-owned businesses is important to them.
  • 18% of Americans are ‘very likely’ to shop Small Business Saturday, and another 32% are at least ‘somewhat likely’ to shop the event.
  • The majority of Black Friday shoppers also plan to shop on Small Business Saturday.

Interested in seeing more insights like these? CivicScience has a constant pulse on the latest holiday trends via our database of over 4 million U.S. survey responses daily. To learn how you can access our real-time consumer insights, get in touch