Small business holiday shopping is back and perhaps changing forever

Signature on glass that reads “Thank you for supporting this local business” at a bakery in Walnut Creek, California, September 15, 2021. Photo courtesy of Sftm. (Photo by Gadot / Getty Images)

Gadot | Archival photos | Getty Images

According to a new post from CNBC | Momentive, more than a third of Americans (34%) say they plan to shop on Saturday for small businesses, a rebound from 2020, but spending on the public holiday has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Small Business Review.

In 2020, 30% of Americans said they would patronize small business Saturday for small businesses. Before the pandemic, support for local businesses was higher and sometimes even declining: 44% in 2018 and 39% in 2019.

“Of course, consumers still love Saturday’s small business, but it doesn’t have the hype that we may have seen in previous years,” Laura Wronski, senior research manager at Momentive, wrote in an email. “Few say they enjoy shopping on Saturday for small businesses the most, and few say they plan to spend more money that day.”

New poll was conducted from 10 to 12 November 2021 among a national sample of 2,744 adults.

More than half (59%) of CNBC survey respondents | Momentive said they are not happy to shop 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%). Saturday is the least exciting for small businesses: 8% of respondents said they were looking forward to it, and 7% of Americans said they plan to spend the most on Saturday for small businesses.

Vacation season can be critical for small businesses. A recent poll by American Express, which created Small Business Saturday, found that 78% of small business owners said the 2021 holiday sale is likely to determine if their business survives next year. For small businesses, shoppers at independent retail stores and restaurants spent a total of about $ 20 billion on Saturday, according to data from Amex last year, similar to the 2019 spending level.

In a year that supply chain problems and rising prices have become key economic concerns, the effect is being felt in holiday season behavior monitored by CNBC | Momentive. 72% of Americans said they had experienced price increases in the past three months, as well as low inventory notifications (62%), staff shortages at local factories (55%) and delivery delays (51%).

Vronsky noted that in other recent Momentive surveyIt found that nearly four in 10 people in the U.S. planned to start their holiday shopping in October, and that those most worried about supply chain problems were those planning to start their holiday shopping earlier.

“There is no doubt that both supply chain turmoil and inflation concerns have disrupted typical holiday shopping patterns,” Wronski wrote.

These fears are especially high among small business backers: Americans who plan to spend Saturday on small businesses are more concerned about the supply chain (48%) than Americans who don’t plan to shop on Saturday (42%).

Small business shoppers are buying more online than in the past, but online shopping is associated with an even higher level of supply chain anxiety: 60% of Saturday small business shoppers who plan to shop online say they are worried about receiving goods a wish.

“A lot of consumers deliberately started their holiday shopping early because they don’t want to be left empty-handed on the holidays! It’s one thing to wait a few months for a new couch to arrive, and quite another to try it. to explain to his children why Santa won’t come until January, ”wrote Vronsky.

The role of Amazon and e-commerce continues to grow

Personal shopping (71%) and dining (67%) in small businesses are the two main ways that respondents plan to patronize small businesses on Saturday for small businesses, but the role of e-commerce has increased. Thirty-five percent of Saturday small business shoppers say they will buy online this year.

Among all holiday shoppers, the percentage of those who prefer to spend money 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 they plan to spend more personally. … Another 32% say they will spend the same online and in person.

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

On Black Friday personal consumer traffic declined.

“Online shopping has indeed overtaken mainstream retail as the default consumer experience, and this is even more true after the pandemic than it was in 2019,” Wronski wrote. “What’s most interesting is how quickly people adapted and how much they learned some of the lessons of the pandemic – even when it comes to their buying behavior.”

Overall, high-income and middle-aged adults are more likely to shop for small businesses on Saturday for small businesses this year, with 40% of respondents with household income of $ 100,000 or more said they plan to patronize small businesses, compared with about a quarter (26%) of respondents earning less than $ 50,000.

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

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