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Small Business Saturday Vacation Shopping is Back and Maybe Changed Forever

More than a third of Americans (34%) say they plan to shop on small business Saturdays, a rebound from 2020, but spending during promotional holiday day has not returned to levels seen before. the pandemic, according to a new CNBC | Momentive Small Business Survey.

In 2020, 30% of Americans said they would patronize a small business on Small Business Saturdays. Before the pandemic, support for local businesses was higher, albeit declining: 44% in 2018 and 39% in 2019.

“Sure, consumers still have a little love for Small Business Saturday, but it doesn’t have the same hype that we’ve seen in previous years,” wrote Laura Wronski, senior director of scientific research at Momentive, in an email. “Few say they are the most excited about going small business Saturday shopping, and few say they plan to spend the most money that day.”

The new survey was conducted from November 10 to 12, 2021 with a national sample of 2,744 adults.

More than half (59%) of respondents to the CNBC | Momentive survey say they are not enthusiastic about shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber ​​Monday, up from 65% in 2020, but in line with pre-pandemic levels. in 2018 (58%) and 2019 (59%). Small Business Saturday generates the least enthusiasm, with 8% of respondents saying they look forward to it, and 7% of Americans saying they plan to spend the most on Small Business Saturday.

The holiday season can be critical for small businesses. A recent poll from American Express, which created Small Business Saturday, found that 78% of small business owners said holiday sales in 2021 would likely determine whether their businesses would survive next year. Amex data from last year estimated a total of nearly $ 20 billion spent by shoppers with independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturdays, similar to 2019 spending levels.

In a year in which supply chain issues and rising prices have become key economic concerns, the effect is being felt in the behavior of the holiday season tracked by the CNBC survey | Momentive. It finds that 72% of Americans say they have experienced price increases in the past three months, along with low inventory notices (62%), staff shortages at local businesses (55%) and delays in sales. shipping (51%).

Wronski noted that in other recent polls conducted by Momentive, he found that nearly four in ten people in the United States planned to start their holiday shopping in October, and those who were most concerned about the problems of supply chain were the ones who planned to get an earlier holiday shopping start.

“There is no doubt that supply chain shocks and inflation fears have disrupted typical holiday shopping habits of consumers,” Wronski wrote.

These fears are high among small business customers in particular, Americans who plan to spend small businesses on Saturdays are more concerned about the supply chain (48%) than Americans who do not plan to shop on Saturdays. (42%).

Small business shoppers are shopping online more than in the past, but shopping online is correlated with an even higher level of supply chain concerns: 60% of small business Saturday shoppers planning to ‘make purchases online say they are afraid of getting the items the envy.

“A lot of consumers have intentionally started their holiday shopping early because they don’t want to sit empty handed over the holidays! It’s one thing to wait a few months for a new sofa to be delivered; it’s another to try to explain to your kids why Santa Claus doesn’t come until January, ”Wronski wrote.

The role of Amazon and e-commerce continues to grow

In-person shopping (71%) and dining (67%) at a small business are the top two ways respondents plan to patronize a small business on Small Business Saturdays, but the role of e-commerce has grown . Thirty-five percent of Saturday small business shoppers say they will shop online this year.

Among all holiday shoppers, the percentage of those who say they prefer to spend online has increased from 38% in 2018 to 46% this year, while 40% say they plan to spend more online, compared with 25% who say that they plan to spend more in person. . Another 32% say they will spend as much online as they do in person.

Amazon Prime subscribers have grown from 56% in 2018 to 67% of survey respondents this year.

On Black Friday, in-person consumer traffic was down.

“Online shopping has really overtaken retail as the default consumer experience, and this is even truer after the pandemic than in 2019,” Wronski wrote. “What’s most interesting is how quickly people have adjusted and how much they have internalized some of the lessons of the pandemic – even when it comes to their buying behaviors.”

Overall, high-income individuals and middle-aged adults are the most likely to shop at a small business on Small Business Saturdays this year, with 40% of respondents with a household income of 100,000 $ or more saying they plan to patronize a small business, compared to about a quarter (26%) of respondents earning less than $ 50,000.

But the CNBC | Momentive survey shows increased support for local businesses in 2021 across several demographics: 30% of black Americans plan to patronize a small business, up from 24% in 2020; 27% of adults aged 18-24 plan to attend a small business, up from 21% in 2020; and 39% of those earning between $ 50,000 and $ 99,000 plan to patronize a small business on Small Business Saturdays, up from 33% in 2020.

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