Small Business Saturday Sales Reach Record $19.8 Billion

On November 28th, Small Business Saturday was celebrated once again. This year’s event was the 11th to occur as the Amex-founded retail holiday celebrated its 10th anniversary. Now, new figures suggest that the 2020 installment of Small Business Saturday was a success, with total sales nearing $20 billion.

According to the American Express 2020 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, this year’s event brought a total of $19.8 billion in sales to independent retails and restaurants. That marks a new record, improving on last year’s $19.6 billion tally. That’s especially impressive given the many hurdles that businesses and consumers faced this year.

On that note, online sales saw a significant increase this time around. Of Small Business Saturday shoppers surveyed, 56% reported patronizing businesses via ecommerce — up from 43% in 2019. Meanwhile, figures from Adobe Digital Insights show overall sales on Small Business Saturday totaling $4.7 billion in 2020 compared to $3.6 billion in 2019 and $3.1 billion in 2018.

Amex’s survey also found that awareness of Small Business Saturday has continued to increase. Additionally, 97% of respondents said that they realized how shopping small could have a positive impact on their community, with 85% also encouraging friends and family to shop small as well. It seems that social media was also a powerful tool this Small Business Saturday, with more than half of those surveyed stating that they either used various platforms to promote their favorite small businesses or ended up making a purchase from a small business because of something they saw on social media.

For business owners, this year’s Small Business Saturday couldn’t have come at a more important time. A Comcast Business survey conducted in September found that 86% of business owners had seen their revenue drop this year. Additionally, while one-in-five respondents say they’ve returned to normal operations, 53% predicted it will take six months to a year to reach that milestone with another 23% suggesting it would take a year or more.

As for American Express, they’ve also been working hard to expand their Shop Small promotion throughout the year, pledging $200 million to the cause. For example, back in May, it began offering cardholders $5 in statement credit when they spent at least $10 at an eligible small business (the offer could also be used up to 10 times). Additionally, the company has sought to promote diversity in entrepreneurship and support business owners of color by funding both the Coalition to Back Black Businesses Grant Program and the 100 for 100 program.

Despite hurdles such as closure mandates, health concerns, and more, Americans still managed to show up for business owners on Small Business Saturday. What’s more, the extra push that the event got during these unprecedented times likely helped grow awareness for the years ahead — all but ensuring a breakthrough to that $20 billion mark next year. Hopefully this strong start to the shopping season means that small businesses can enjoy a happy holiday after all.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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