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Across the country, small businesses and consumers alike are getting excited to support their favorite local, independent businesses on Small Business Saturday, which takes place this year on Nov. 26. Results from the fifth-annual Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, released by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express, show that more consumers than ever are aware of Small Business Saturday (58 percent vs. the previous high of 55 percent in 2015).

More than six in ten (62 percent) consumers who are aware of Small Business Saturday and who plan to shop locally on the day say the main reason they plan to shop at small retailers or eat at independently-owned restaurants is because they value the contributions small businesses make to their community.

“Since its inception, Small Business Saturday has brought national attention to supporting the local businesses we love,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, Executive Vice President, Global Advertising & Brand Management at American Express, which founded Small Business Saturday in 2010. “Small Business Saturday reminds consumers of how valuable small businesses are to our communities, and we are incredibly proud to be the founding partner.”

Held annually on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express as a response to small business owners’ most pressing need: getting more customers through their doors, rallying communities to support local businesses and helping kick off a successful holiday sales period.

Planning to Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

Of consumers who are aware of Small Business Saturday, 89% agree that the day encourages them to Shop Small all year long, not just during the holiday season. Nearly eight in ten (79%) consumers say they are willing to pay slightly more for an item if it is purchased from a small, independently-owned retailer as opposed to online or at a large retailer – on par with last year. And just how much are they planning to spend? Of those who are aware of Small Business Saturday and planning to shop and dine on the day, two-thirds (67%) say that they plan to spend at least $100 at small businesses on Small Business Saturday – a slight increase from 2015 (65 percent).

Among U.S. consumers, the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey found:

  • On average, one-third (33%) of their holiday shopping this year is expected to be done at small retailers or restaurants – on par with last year.
  • 76% say they will visit at least one small business as part of their overall holiday shopping, on par with last year.
  • Additionally, 91% reported that supporting small, independently-owned bars and restaurants is important to them.

“Small businesses across the nation are often run by the friends, family and neighbors that we know so well, so supporting them is not only personal but critical to their success,” said NFIB CEO and President Juanita Duggan. “Partnering with American Express to promote the awareness and importance of shopping small is something we are very proud of, and this year, we look forward to another successful Small Business Saturday.”

Additional findings from the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey include:

  • 63% of consumers who are willing to pay slightly more for an item if purchased from a small, independently-owned retailer as opposed to online or at a large retailer say that in exchange for paying a higher price, they expect better customer service from small, independently-owned businesses.
  • Nearly half (48%) of consumers who are aware of Small Business Saturday and who plan to Shop Small on the day say they expect to spend more on Small Business Saturday this year than last year – up from 45% in 2015, and the highest amount yet recorded.
  • Consumers who are aware of Small Business Saturday and who plan to shop on the day say they plan to support many different types of small businesses on the day, including clothing/accessories/shoe stores (45%), restaurants/bars/pubs (41%) and bakeries (39%).

Neighborhood Champions and the Small Business Saturday Coalition Drive Excitement for the Day

Grassroots support for Small Business Saturday is largely driven by Neighborhood Champions, a program of advocates for Small Business Saturday comprised of small businesses, business associations, local Chambers of Commerce and other community organizers who help to rally their neighborhoods on the day. To date, more than 6,400 Neighborhood Champions – an increase of 56% percent from 2015 – have signed up to plan activities and events to draw consumers to commercial districts across the U.S., leading up to and on Small Business Saturday. In fact, 45% of consumers who are aware of Small Business Saturday and who plan to shop say they plan to attend a community event in celebration of the day.

Another important group that drives participation on the day is the Small Business Saturday Coalition. Led by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), the Small Business Saturday Coalition was created in 2011 to help amplify the Shop Small message. The Coalition is comprised of national, state and local associations that help coordinate Small Business Saturday activities with merchants, consumers and small business owners.

Show Your Love for Small Businesses on Social Media

Each year consumers have made it a tradition to share their Small Business Saturday experiences on social media. This year, consumers and small businesses across the nation are encouraged to show their love for their favorite independent businesses by using the #ShopSmall, #SmallBizSat and #DineSmall hashtags on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

American Express® Card Members Receive Offer to Shop Small

New this year, American Express is giving Card Members the opportunity to earn 2X rewards when they enroll an eligible American Express Card at http://www.amex.co/shopsmalloffer and shop at qualifying small merchants both in-store and online now through Dec. 31.(1) With the addition of 1.6 million merchant locations that have started accepting American Express Cards over the past two years, Card Members now have even more places than ever to Shop Small(2). When Card Members use an eligible Card to shop at qualifying small merchants they could earn 2X rewards in the form of what they already earn with their Card– from Membership Rewards® points to miles with Delta® to Cash Back and more.

This offer is the latest way American Express is supporting the expanding network of small merchants who accept American Express Cards by giving Card Members yet another reason to Shop Small throughout the holiday season.

Corporate Supporters Help Build Buzz for Small Business Saturday

To help further spread the Shop Small message, American Express has enlisted the support of many companies that are serving as Corporate Supporters. Together these companies reach millions of small businesses and consumers and are key players in the retail, telecom, media, hospitality, transportation, and professional services industries. Some of the companies that will be participating include FedEx, Uber, AT&T, Valpak and Ace Hardware.

To speak with NFIB State Director Nathan Humphrey about Small Business Saturday in Georgia, please contact Todd Pack at todd.pack@NFIB.org or 615-872-5897.

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