Start-ups

Small Business Saturday by the numbers: 67 million expected to shop, $85 billion spent

A stretch of stores along the base of Munjoy Hill had open signs out and were ready for business as part of small business Saturday, November 28, 2015.
Gabe Souza | Portland Press Herald | Getty Images
A stretch of stores along the base of Munjoy Hill had open signs out and were ready for business as part of small business Saturday, November 28, 2015.

Almost before the leftover turkey is put away into Tupperware, the holiday shopping season is fully underway.

But now, popular shopping day Black Friday has to share the spotlight with its relatively new sidekick: Small Business Saturday. This year, the shopping day, when consumers are urged to shop at independently own stores to support those business owners, falls on Nov. 24.

Here's a look at Small Business Saturday day by the numbers.

67 million expected to shop

In the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, 164 million people are planning to shop, according to an estimate from the National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association, and Prosper Insights & Analytics, a consumer data company, released Nov. 16.

Of those, 41 percent — 67 million — are planning to shop on Small Business Saturday, according report, which is based on a survey of 7,516 consumers conducted between Oct. 29 and Nov. 7.

Of that 67 million, 78 percent report they "will do so specifically to support small businesses."

By comparison, 34 million people plan to shop on Thanksgiving, 116 million plan to shop on Black Friday, 32 million are expected to shop on Sunday and 75 million are expected to shop online on Cyber Monday.

$85 billion spent at small businesses in 8 days

Small Business Saturday was launched in 2010 by American Express in the wake of the 2008 recession. In 2011, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution to support Small Business Saturday, according to the American Express.

In the eight annual Small Business Saturdays since the marketing campaign launched, customers have reported spending $85 billion at independent shops and restaurants, according to the American Express website.

30.2 million small businesses in the United States

"Small businesses are generally independently owned and can exist in a variety of forms including, but not limited to, corner stores, online boutiques, among many others. They can give a neighborhood strength and create vibrant, diverse communities," the American Express Shop Small website says.

There are 30.2 million small businesses in the United States, according to the U.S. government Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy report published in August 2018. (The federal government's U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy generally defines a small business as having fewer than 500 employees. The report uses the most recent governmental data available, collected in 2015 and released in 2016-2017.)

Of those 30.2 million small businesses, 80 percent — 24.3 million — were solo entrepreneurs (no employees). That's a number on the rise; in 1997, there were 15.4 small businesses with no employees, the SBA's Office of Advocacy says.

Still, Main Street businesses are a significant factor in the nation's job market. Small businesses employ 47.5 percent of private sector employees (59 million out of 124 million), according to the SBA office of Advocacy.

Emma Newburger contributed to this report.