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Small Businesses Depend on Holiday Sales

As I mentioned last week, the report on Thanksgiving weekend sales from the National Retail Federation showed fewer consumers shopped on Small Business Saturday this year—59 million versus last year’s 63.4 million.

This is disappointing, but I hope it doesn’t mean small business retailers will have a tough holiday season. American Express just released the Amex Small Business Trendex: Holiday Edition, highlighting several significant trends regarding small business. The new data shows how critical the holiday shopping season is for the financial health of so many of the nation’s small businesses.

According to the report, 66% of the small businesses and 89% of the retailers surveyed said the holidays are indeed crucial to them financially. Interestingly, 50% of the small business owners named “acquiring new customers” as their top goal for the season and not “increasing sales” (which came in second at 44%). However, 71% of the retailers surveyed said their primary goal was to “increase sales.”

Marketing, of course, is critical to both acquiring customers and increasing sales. The Amex report shows that over 75% of business owners plan to market during the holidays with social media as their preferred channel, particularly when targeting millennials (58%) and Gen Z (40%). In general, the entrepreneurs are prioritizing Facebook (82%), Instagram (63%), and YouTube (48%).

And business owners, especially younger ones, plan to leverage AI (artificial intelligence)— 25% of all survey respondents, 50% of Gen Z,  and 36% of millennials say they’ll use AI to help them reach their goals for the holiday season.

So, while the American Express survey shows business owners are committed to working hard and succeeding this holiday season, it’s up to us—the nation’s consumers—to help them. Please remember to shop small—for the holidays and all year long.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Twitter @Rieva, and visit her website to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free Currents newsletter.

Holiday sales stock image by Ground Picture/Shutterstock

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