Small Business Saturday set to boost firms in peak season

The Small Business Saturday campaign is set to return on the 2nd December with the aim of helping small firms maximise the peak season. Research indicates that Christmas is crucial for the success of four-fifths (86%) of small businesses.

A survey of independent business owners, conducted on behalf of Small Business Saturday and American Express, the campaign’s principal supporter, found that Christmas is the most profitable period for over two-thirds of small firms, essential for sustaining finances through winter and other challenging times.

As the campaign prepares for its return on the 2 December, organisers are encouraging the UK’s small businesses to participate and make the most of the increased attention.

This initiative comes in the context of flat economic forecasts. The research also highlights that small firms are confronting various challenges, including inflation, cited by 31% as their main concern for the next six months.

Entering its second decade in the UK, Small Business Saturday aims to support and celebrate the country's 5.5 million small businesses, promoting the 'shop local' ethos and backing small firms in communities.

Greg Rose, Co-Founder of Maybugs in Sussex, shared his thoughts: “Christmas is such a critical time for us, the six weeks to the big day can generate a huge proportion of our annual profit and sets us on a good footing for the year ahead.

"The loyal customer base which we have built up over the years is key to having a good festive season, and gently reminding them to shop local and support independents is a huge part of our strategy. Whilst the cost-of-living crisis will most definitely have an impact, we are trading up on last year and customers are still spending, so overall we are feeling hopeful."

Michelle Ovens CBE, Director of Small Business Saturday UK, emphasised the campaign's ongoing importance: “As we enter our second decade, Small Business Saturday’s mission to support and celebrate the phenomenal contribution of small businesses across the UK remains just as vital. As things remain challenging out there for business owners, support from the public is absolutely vital, particularly during peak season. I’d encourage all small businesses to get involved and make the most of the spotlight!”

Small Business Saturday, recognised as the UK’s most successful business campaign, engages millions and has resulted in billions of pounds spent with small firms on the day. Over its duration in the UK, public support for small businesses has increased, with 77% of small firms believing customers prefer to support them in the current climate.

Jen Baptiste, Founder of Black Culture Market, commented on the campaign’s impact: "As a small business owner, I value the spotlight that the Small Business Saturday campaign casts on enterprises like ours. It inspires individuals to explore diverse offerings and uncover the profound passion and dedication that small business owners invest in their work. This campaign serves as a call for everyone to consciously embrace local choices, contributing to the creation of innovation and economic growth. Small Business Saturday itself is more than a day of increased sales; it serves as a beacon, reminding customers of the distinctive value small businesses bring to the community. It's a celebration of connections, relationships, and local commerce.”

The campaign, a grassroots, not-for-profit initiative originally founded by American Express in the US in 2010, is free and open to all small businesses. Many participate by hosting events, offering promotions, and collaborating with other local businesses and community groups.

The campaign suggests five ways for business owners to celebrate Small Business Saturday:

  • Use the campaign to engage customers by downloading marketing materials from the Small Business Saturday website.
  • Host an event or run a special promotion.
  • Join in online.
  • Collaborate with other small businesses and community groups like local councils or BIDs.
  • Register to be featured on the Small Business Finder map and app.

Despite ongoing economic challenges, Small Business Saturday’s data also indicates that small businesses remain optimistic, with almost half (45%) feeling confident about the next six months and 22% diversifying their operations to respond to hurdles. This includes a rising trend of collaboration among local businesses, with 73% teaming up to navigate economic challenges.

Dan Edelman, General Manager, UK Merchant Services at American Express, spoke about the campaign’s significance: “As the campaign moves into its second decade, it remains just as vital. We are proud to play our part in championing small businesses as the long-standing principal supporter of Small Business Saturday UK, and through our Shop Small campaign, which encourages our Cardmembers to spend with independent, local businesses all year round.”

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Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to 'shop local' and support small businesses in their communities.

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