Lindsay Cates Lindsay Cates
Senior Manager, Communications and Strategy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


November 09, 2023


Small Business Saturday is an annual event that takes place on the Saturday following Thanksgiving (this year, November 25, 2023). First observed in 2010, Small Business Saturday has become an important day to show appreciation for the small businesses that are the backbone of our nation’s economy.  

Small Business Saturday encourages Americans across the country to support local small businesses. The day infuses money back into our local economies, promotes vibrant and diverse communities, and celebrates the important role of small businesses in the national economy. 

Here's what you need to know about Small Business Saturday and how to support local companies year-round.

How did Small Business Saturday start? 

In 2010, in an effort to support local small businesses – many of whom were hurting during the economic recession – American Express launched Small Business Saturday to help drive more holiday shopping to small businesses. One year after the launch, local officials across the nation began to notice and promote the day. In 2011, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of Small Business Saturday and by 2012 officials in all 50 states began to participate – and they have every year since. 

The day has grown into an annual holiday shopping tradition.  

What is the impact of shopping small during the holidays?  

There are 33.2 million small businesses in the U.S. and they make up 99% of all businesses. For the past 20 years, small businesses have accounted for roughly 40% of the United States’ gross domestic output (GDP), which equates to trillions of dollars of economic activity.  

By designating a day in their honor, we are reminded that these businesses rely on our patronage during critical consumer shopping seasons as well as year-round. Data from QuickBooks shows that up to 65% of small businesses’ annual revenue was generated during the holidays last year. 

The same survey says this year small businesses can look forward to a 42% increase in consumer spending over the holiday season, increasing from $88 billion to an estimated $125 billion. This averages approximately $485 of what each consumer may have earmarked to shop small this year.  

Despite economic volatility and a climate where inflation and interest rates continue to fluctuate, QuickBooks notes, shopping small is holding strong with consumers. 

Holiday Advice for Small Business Owners

Maximize sales this holiday season with our guide to Small Business Saturday. Plus, read expert tips for tapping into other major shopping days, like Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, and Black Friday. 

How does shopping at small businesses help my local economy?  

When you support a local business, you’re also supporting your town, city, and neighborhood by way of paying sales tax. The sales tax money is used to support public schools, parks, roads, and sidewalks, as well as fund public service workers, like firefighters.  

“It may be hard to see sometimes, but your local dollar comes back to you in a variety of ways,” says Victoria Kidd, owner of Hideaway Café in Winchester, Virginia.   

Small businesses are deeply engaged in their communities, so, supporting a small business supports your local community. According to the Q4 2022 MetLife and U.S. Chamber Small Business Index, nearly all small businesses owners agree that community engagement is important for their business—and are actively engaged in giving back in several ways—including hosting or sponsoring community events, donating to local charities, and forming partnerships with other local businesses.   

Are there other benefits of shopping small?  

Yes! The items found in small businesses are often made by hand in small batches, resulting in one-of-a-kind pieces. Local stores may also be able to offer customized products, hands-on service, and other personal touches that big box stores cannot. In fact, 37% of Americans say they purchase from small businesses to receive a more personal experience, according to NerdWallet

Additionally, consumers looking to avoid the stressors of holiday shopping are favoring small businesses. According to QuickBooks, nearly 3 in 5 (59%) consumers say shopping at small businesses is less stressful than shopping at big retailers. Among these consumers, almost half (49%) expect to spend more at small businesses this holiday season. Three in 5 (61%) consumers say they find the best small business deals in-person.

How can I support my local small businesses? 

Shop Small! Regardless of where you live in this country, you can be certain that your local community benefits greatly from the restaurants, retail stores, manufacturers, and service providers that create jobs and drive economic growth in your area.  

Support the small businesses in your area and shop local – especially during Small Business Saturday on November 25th. Be sure to share your shop small experiences on social media using #ShopSmall and thank the businesses you visit for their contributions to our neighborhoods. 

Shop Small Online 

With the growth of the digital economy, more and more entrepreneurs are starting or moving their businesses online. Most consumers (43%) plan to shop equally online and in-person for the holidays this year (compared with only 28% who say they plan to shop primarily in-person and 29% who say they plan to shop primarily online). 

It's clear that consumers like an online option: 73% say the option to buy online and pick up in store and home delivery options are more likely to get them to buy from small businesses. 

“During the pandemic, it was so critical to have a different channel to generate business as people weren't able to access traditional brick and mortar stores,” said Hrag Kalebjian of Henry’s House of Coffee

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is proud to stand for millions of small businesses in communities across America. As you shop for gifts this season, don’t forget about the numerous small businesses that support your local economy and employ your friends and neighbors.  

Small Business Advocacy & Programs

The U.S. Chamber works every day to fight for policies and regulations that benefit small business and to support their growth and success with tailored resources and expert insights. 

About the authors

Lindsay Cates

Lindsay Cates

Lindsay is a senior manager on the communications and strategy team. She previously worked as a writer and editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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