Although it can be hectic and somewhat stressful, the holiday season is a much heralded time of year, if for no other reason than the memories formed when families gather ’round Christmas trees, dinner tables or while out and about shopping. But consumers aren’t the only ones who look forward to the celebrating – businesses do as well, as sales frequently surge. And as newly released figures show, Thanksgiving weekend – typically the unofficial kickoff to the holiday buying season – proved to be a banner period for companies.
“108 million people shopped on Small Business Saturday.”
Small Business Saturday, recognized annually as the first Saturday following Thanksgiving, found shoppers patronizing retailers, restaurants and e-commerce companies in droves, spending a combined $12.9 billion, according to estimates from the National Federation of Independent Business. With approximately 108 million shoppers hitting the stores 48 hours after turkey with all the fixings was served, that translates to roughly 1 in 3 Americans who were buying on Nov. 25. First observed in November of 2010, Small Business Saturday is the brainchild of American Express and the nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Restaurants see highest amount of traffic
Retailers weren’t the only beneficiaries of the weekend buying binge. In fact, restaurants were quite popular, with 41 percent of consumers dining at various food and beverage establishments over the five-day stretch, according to the NFIB. That’s not including coffee shops, which 22 percent of Americans paid a visit to. Other major shopping destinations, based on data crunched by the National Retail Federation, included electronic stores, discount merchandisers and department stores.
With the economy in as good of shape as its been in a while, businesses – both large and small – enticed buyers with door-buster deals and deep discounts, noted Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF.
“All the fundamentals were in place for consumers to take advantage of incredible deals and promotions retailers had to offer,” noted Shay, referring not only to Small Business Saturday but Thanksgiving weekend as a whole. “From good weather across the country to low unemployment and strong consumer confidence, the climate was right, literally and figuratively, for consumers to tackle their holiday shopping lists online and in stores.”
“The typical shopper is spending $335 on gifts this year.”
Older millennials spend the most
Millennials – who range between 18 and 35 years of age – were small-business owners’ biggest buyers, with older millennials spending an average of approximately $420, NRF reported. That’s slightly more than what the typical shopper paid, which was $335, nearly 75 percent of which was put toward gift purchases. Surveys show that more Americans also buy for themselves during Thanksgiving weekend.
It’s a good time to be a business owner, as consumer sentiment hasn’t been this high – 129.5 on the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index – since 2000. Entrepreneurs are giving Americans plenty of options, as 25 million companies have formed in the U.S. over the past two years, according to Babson College.
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