What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated every year to support and celebrate small businesses across the United States. Started in 2010 by American Express it is celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage consumers to get out and shop at their local neighborhood stores. This annual event takes place between Black Friday and Cyber Monday to help small business owners capitalize from the holiday shopping season.

Small Business Saturday is being promoted by American Express using the hashtag #smallbizsaturday. Since it started in 2010 US consumers have reportedly spent nearly $140 billion on the Small Business Saturdays combined, last year consumer spending had reached $ 19.8 billion on Small Business Saturday.

What is the Purpose of Small Business Saturday?

This national shopping holiday helps call to attention the importance of shopping at local small businesses that are the backbone of the nation’s economy. The shopping holiday includes events being organized to encourage shoppers to patronize local businesses and access unique products and services from within their community while celebrating small businesses.

When is Small Business Saturday?

This year, Small Business Saturday will take place on November 25, 2023, right in between Black Friday (November 24) and Cyber Monday ( November 27)  during the holiday shopping season. It takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to help ensure holiday shoppers keep local businesses in mind as they buy gifts for the holiday season.

What is Small Business Saturday?

What is the History of Small Business Saturday?

The first Small Business Saturday was created by  American Express on November 27, 2010, to encourage holiday shoppers to shop locally and patronize brick and mortar businesses. In 2011, the Senate passed a resolution designating the day to support efforts to increase awareness of the value of locally owned small businesses. Since 2015 the Small Business Administration has co-sponsored the event with American Express, now in its tenth year, the shopping holiday is dedicated to supporting small businesses by helping to create jobs and boost local economies. It offers opportunities for small business owners to refocus their marketing and promotions efforts to attract customers during the holiday season. The success of Small Business Saturday in encouraging consumers to shop locally has also inspired the United Kingdom to celebrate its own Small Business Saturday since 2013 with the day being celebrated in December. See how you measure up with others by taking the Small Business Saturday quiz.

Who Can Participate in Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is designed to help small businesses take a piece of the holiday shopping action this is in a bid to let them compete with big-box retailers and e-commerce stores. The small businesses shopping event is intended to encourage holiday consumers to shop at small and locally owned businesses. Participating businesses include those who have fewer than 500 employees and include a wider range of businesses that include local retailers, restaurants, and others offering services.

5 Reasons Small Businesses Should Get Involved

If you own a small business you should consider getting involved in Small Business Saturday. With it you can leverage your brand, increase connections with customers, and generate strong sales. Some top reasons why you should consider participating include:

1. Reach out to more clients: Small Business Saturday is held across the nation in all 50 states. To further help consumers to shop at their local mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, and service providers American Express for eligible businesses has even developed a map and small business online directory where your business too can be included for free.

2. Boost Your sales: Small Business Saturday has seen phenomenal growth year after year, giving great exposure to small businesses. Last year despite COVID-19 US, social distancing, and lockdowns consumers spent a whopping $ 19.8 billion on Small Business Saturday. With the economy in recovery this year more sales are expected to take place.

3. Consumers are incentivized: to support small businesses American Express through its Shop Small campaign lets its credit card users earn special points for when they buy from small businesses.

4. Foster Community spirit: Small business Saturday isn’t only about selling. It is an event that helps communities come together and support local communities and businesses.

5. You can Promote your unique product or service: As the holiday shopping event is specifically designed for your business you can make the most of your holiday marketing efforts by being part of it. Consumers are encouraged to shop locally meaning they will be coming from an area that is nearby helping you to also cut costs on shipping and delivery.

Reasons to Get InvolvedBenefits
Reach out to more clients- Nationwide presence
- Inclusion on the Shop Small map and online directory for free
Boost Your sales- Phenomenal growth in sales year after year
- Opportunity for increased exposure and revenue
Consumers are incentivized- American Express's Shop Small campaign offers credit card users special points for supporting small businesses
Foster Community spirit- Encourages community support and unity
You can Promote your unique product or service- Opportunity to showcase and market your unique offerings
- Reduced shipping and delivery costs

What is Small Business Saturday?

How Can Local Businesses Get Involved?

As a small business owner, you don’t need to register with any organization to participate in Small Business Saturday. To get involved with Small Business Saturday is easy simply choose to participate and get started with your planning. To capitalize on the opportunities being offered from participating at Small Business Saturday here are some tips on how to get involved:

Offer discounts and sales: The holidays can be a stressful period for holiday shoppers help bring some holiday cheer to them by offering them holiday discounts and offering promotions.

Prepare for heavy foot traffic: Because Small Business Saturday starts at the beginning of the shopping season expect to see a lot of heavy foot traffic to your establishment. You will need to double-check that your inventory is fully stocked to handle a boost in orders and sales.

Get your business on Shop Small Map: If your business accepts American Express cards, you can be featured on the Shop Small Map which will put among businesses shoppers can explore during Small Business Saturday.

Partner with other businesses: The holiday shopping event is to help celebrate buying locally and support the local economy. You can partner with other small businesses to organize or sponsor a local community event.

Become a Neighborhood Champion: Neighborhood champions are people or businesses that take charge of organizing events or promotions to encourage people and businesses about Small Business Saturday. Neighborhood champions or Shop Small ambassadors help encourage their communities to shop locally throughout the holiday season, and year-round; and encourage local businesses to participate this holiday season.

What is Small Business Saturday?

How Can my Business be Successful on Small Business Saturday?

Set Goals: You will need to prepare for the holiday shopping season ahead of time. This means you need to carve out goals for reaching different sales targets and plan on staying open.

Make sure you have enough inventory: You will need to anticipate holiday orders by making sure that you have enough merchandise in your store for the holiday season. You will need to place orders with suppliers earlier on as suppliers are will no doubt be under holiday pressure.

Tweak your marketing campaign: Use your marketing channels including posters, flyers, your website, and social media posts to let new customers know what you are offering during this unique shopping holiday. If you need help American Express offers resources and marketing materials for free to help you get started.

What is Small Business Saturday?

Maximizing Small Business Saturday Success

Small Business Saturday is a significant opportunity for local businesses to boost sales and engage with their communities. To ensure your business thrives on this special day, consider the following strategies:

  • Set Clear Goals: Establish specific sales targets and objectives for Small Business Saturday to guide your efforts effectively.
  • Stock Up Adequately: Anticipate increased demand and ensure you have sufficient inventory to meet customer needs during the holiday season.
  • Tailor Your Marketing: Customize your marketing campaign to promote your Small Business Saturday offers through various channels like posters, flyers, websites, and social media.
  • Leverage Resources: Take advantage of free resources and marketing materials offered by American Express to enhance your promotional efforts.
  • Collaborate and Partner: Explore collaboration opportunities with other local businesses to create community events or sponsor activities that celebrate Small Business Saturday.
  • Become a Neighborhood Champion: Consider taking the lead as a Neighborhood Champion to organize and promote Small Business Saturday activities within your community.
  • Prepare for Foot Traffic: Expect a surge in foot traffic and ensure your store is well-prepared to handle the increased number of customers.
  • Offer Discounts and Promotions: Attract holiday shoppers with special discounts and promotions to make their shopping experience more enjoyable.
  • Participate on the Shop Small Map: If you accept American Express cards, get your business featured on the Shop Small Map to attract more shoppers.
Strategies for SuccessBenefits
Set Clear Goals- Provides a clear direction for your Small Business Saturday efforts
- Helps measure the success of your campaign
Stock Up Adequately- Ensures you meet increased customer demand during the holiday season
Tailor Your Marketing- Customized promotion increases the visibility of your Small Business Saturday offers
Leverage Resources- Free resources and marketing materials enhance your promotional efforts
Collaborate and Partner- Creates a sense of community and boosts the impact of Small Business Saturday activities
Become a Neighborhood Champion- Allows you to take a leadership role in promoting Small Business Saturday within your community
Prepare for Foot Traffic- Ensures a smooth shopping experience for customers and maximizes sales
Offer Discounts and Promotions- Attracts more holiday shoppers and makes their shopping experience more enjoyable
Participate on the Shop Small Map- Attracts American Express cardholders and encourages them to shop at your business


Small Business Saturday is more than just a shopping event; it’s a vital celebration of the backbone of our economy—local businesses. With a history spanning over a decade, this annual tradition has grown exponentially, bolstering small businesses and fostering community spirit. By actively participating in Small Business Saturday, entrepreneurs can seize the opportunity to increase their brand visibility, elevate customer connections, and ultimately, boost sales. This day not only benefits individual businesses but also strengthens the bonds within communities, emphasizing the value of shopping locally. As we approach the upcoming Small Business Saturday, remember that it’s not just about deals and discounts; it’s about coming together to support the heart and soul of our neighborhoods. So, mark your calendars, plan your promotions, and get ready to be a part of this remarkable celebration of small businesses.

Image: Depositphotos

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Samson Haileyesus Samson Haileyesus is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 5 years. He has several years of progressive experience in media, communication and PR working with government, NGOs and private sector.