Wow — even in the face of concerns about rising energy costs, U.S. small businesses have confidence in holiday sales. Sixty percent (60%) expect to have a strong holiday season this year, in 2005. That is according to a recent survey of nearly 1,300 small businesses taken by Constant Contact, the email marketing service.
Now here is where things get really interesting: the responses are even more optimistic if you just look at retailers. A whopping 73% of retailers expecting a strong holiday season. Those numbers are closely followed by the hospitality industry, with 70% expecting strong holiday sales.
No matter how you slice it, those are very strong numbers.
The consumer services industries, such as spas and beauty salons are slightly less optimistic, but still feeling bullish, with 58%. In one sense that is understandable, because consumer services businesses do not benefit as greatly from the holiday season. You could even argue that with people being so busy, certain consumer services are slower during the holidays than at other times.
Every time a new set of economic data or a survey like this comes out, I expect it to show the other shoe dropping. Yet despite a few small signs of weakness, overall conditions seem positive for small business — and all the more remarkable because the strong conditions have gone on for so long now.