Lessons Learned

The theme to the popular 80s TV show ‘The Facts of Life’ advised us to “take the good, take the bad.” That’s the hard lesson for small business owners in the wake of Small Business Saturday. Despite record-breaking attendance, analysts say sales are still down for most mom-and-pop shops, as compared to previous years.

Good and Bad

U.S. companies made nearly $13 billion during this year’s Small Business Saturday, according to the 2017 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights survey. Researchers say 43 percent (four in ten) of faithful shoppers patronized local small businesses. Now in its eighth year, the 2017 event attracted more than 108 million total consumers.

In a survey preceding the event, nine out of ten consumers said it “has a positive impact on the community,” and inspires them to “explore new, independently-owned retailers and restaurants.” Most respondents (80 percent) said they purposely save at least some holiday shopping specifically so they can participate.

However, while more folks are welcoming the idea with open arms, many are still reluctant to open their wallets. Both attendance and spending were down from 2016, when 112 million shoppers spent more than $15 billion. As more consumers opt for the ease and comfort of buying online, a continued decline is expected.

The ‘Facts’

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Analysts say the decline in interest and participation is caused, in part, due to lack of awareness. In 2016, 72 percent of consumers said they found out about the event through social media. That’s a two percent increase from 2015.

However, in an era of ad-blockers and consumer angst toward promotional materials, many shoppers remain unaware of the event. Others have cited difficulty getting downtown, or making time to shop on a designated day.

Still, organizers remain optimistic.

“The momentum that was started with the first Small Business Saturday continues to build,” said Elizabeth Rutledge — Executive Vice President of Global Advertising and Media at American Express.

The credit firm sponsors the event, and also assists small businesses with marketing and promotional incentives.

by Frank Samandari
Guest Writer
Residential Life Magazine

Frank Samandari is an award-winning journalist, web writer, and voice talent based near Daytona Beach Florida.

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