An estimated 103 million Americans shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday, exceeding the pre-Thanksgiving projection of 89 million shoppers. According to statistics released by American Express, small-business merchants experienced a 23 percent increase in card-member transactions on the second annual Small Business Saturday, held on Nov. 26.
One of the major goals of the American Express-sponsored event was to raise awareness and increase support of local small businesses beyond just that one day. Public awareness rose 65 percent this year, compared to 37 percent in 2010, with support from 75 corporations, including Facebook, Google and FedEx; more than 230 small-business advocate groups, public and private organizations; over 2.7 million Facebook users who "liked" Small Business Saturday, and almost 200,000 tweets. High-profile Small Business Saturday shoppers included President Barack Obama, White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, Small Business Administration head Karen Mills and celebrities including Christy Turlington, Chloe Sevigny and Katie Couric.
"We want to thank all the consumers, public officials, community organizations, chambers of commerce and corporate partners who were part of the movement," Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and CEO of American Express, said in a statement. "By supporting small businesses across America, they are helping to create jobs, boost the economy and preserve our neighborhoods."
The owners of New York City-based Butter Lane Cupcakes, which aggressively promoted the day and offered a special sales, consider the day a big success. "We more than doubled last year's business and quadrupled what would be a normal Saturday for us," said Maria Baugh, co-owner of Butter Lane Cupcakes. "You need to run your own special in conjunction with SBS and also really, really promote it in order to get the most out of it. But when you do those things, it can provide a huge boost to your business."
Baugh has just one suggestion for American Express: "We'd love a quarterly or monthly Small Business Saturday," she says. "The more the better!"