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Shopping Small: An Estimated $695 Billion Opportunity this Holiday

December 08, 2021 Kelly Kovack
December 08, 2021
Amex + Google

Consumers shopping small this holiday season have the potential to contribute an estimated $695 billion into the US small business economy. American Express is doing its part again, celebrated its 12th Annual Small Business Saturday with a digitally integrated holiday shopping experience that is part of the company's goal to drive $100 billion in consumer spending at small businesses from 2021 through 2025.

Excitement is building among consumers and small businesses ahead of the holidays, with 63% of small business owners surveyed reporting that they are preparing for a bigger holiday shopping season than last year despite supply chain shortages and other challenges due to the pandemic," said Elizabeth Rutledge, Chief Marketing Officer at American Express. "We're rallying consumers to help deliver a strong holiday season for small businesses in communities across the country. It's so important to support our favorite small businesses not only on Small Business Saturday but throughout the holiday season and all year long.
The American Express Shop Small Impact report uncovered more than half (56%) of small businesses surveyed agree that this year's Small Business Saturday is more critical than ever for their business. and 78% say holiday sales will impact their ability to keep their doors open in 2022.

Francisco-based Youthforia and Atlanta-based Afokoskin both launched in 2020, and both leveraged Amex to get things off the ground. Fiona Chan, founder of Youthforia, shared, "We love using Amex for our business credit cards. The ability to earn points on specific spending categories has been really helpful for us as a small business. We use Amex to pay for everything from advertising costs, recurring costs, to one-off expenses."

American Express has a deep dedication to supporting the diverse range of local businesses that create jobs, help boost the economy, and enhance neighborhoods around the country. Business Saturday was launched in 2010 in response to small business owners' most pressing need: getting more customers. Last year, according to the SBA the total reported projected spending among US consumers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached an estimated $19.8 billion.

"As a fairly new and small business, the support of Amex is huge! We are so appreciative that Amex uses their platform to support us because getting that extra exposure really makes all the difference for companies like this one that are looking to grow. Running a small business is not easy, but getting support like this is a huge motivation to keep pushing forward," Afokoskin founder Aforkor Amelia Quaye said about Amex’s Shop Small initiative. 


This year's initiative is supported by a new nationwide marketing campaign and new ways to Shop Small, a collaboration with Google Shopping, a Shop Small x ByBlack online marketplace powered by mission-driven retailer Showfields, and a new grant program in partnership with Main Street America to support underrepresented small businesses.

Holiday Shopping with Google: Building on the tradition of visiting holiday windows, Google and American Express unveiled shoppable digital murals in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston encouraging consumers to shop at small businesses this holiday season. The murals, painted by local artists, feature over 25 products sourced solely from local small businesses. Using Google Lens, consumers can discover and shop the murals from their phones. As part of their partnership, the companies are also committed to helping thousands of small businesses enhance their digital presence this holiday season by offering a complimentary Grow with Google digital workshop for small businesses.

Shop Small x ByBlack Marketplace: As an extension of ByBlack, a national business directory and certification program for Black-owned businesses expanded in partnership with the US Black Chambers, Inc., American Express is launching the Shop Small x ByBlack online marketplace powered by Showfields.

Backing Small Inclusive Grant Program: The economic effects of the pandemic have shown the importance of getting small businesses funding when they need it most—72% of small businesses surveyed say that grant funding would help keep their business open for another year. In response, American Express is launching a $1.65 million Inclusive Backing grant program with nonprofit partner Main Street America.

According to the US Small Business Administration, there are over 32.5 million small businesses in the United States. About half of all American workers are either employed by a small business or own a small business, and two out of three net-new jobs are created by small businesses, making them a crucial part of the US economy. This year 80% of consumers surveyed stated they are likely to Shop Small this holiday season with 93% of Gen Z consumers said they're likely to shop at one or more small businesses as part of their holiday shopping this year. This generation can have a profound impact on the small business economy.

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