Small Business Saturday Gets Social

Despite being sandwiched between two major shopping events, namely Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s Small Business Saturday could prove just as momentous for small businesses with social media savvy.

According to the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, the average consumer will spend $848 on gifts this holiday season, a $17 increase over last year’s spending levels. And small business owners are poised to capture a healthy chunk of those shoppers’ budgets in the coming days.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express revealed this week that that a majority of consumers said that they were going to “shop small” on Small Business Saturday (November 24). According to their Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, 67 percent of shoppers will patronize their local storefronts.

Small business owners can expect to ring up more sales, too. Seventy percent of those surveyed (1,000 U.S. shoppers, 18 years and up) — plan to spend the same or more this Small Business Saturday. On average, they plan to part with $100 when they walk through a small shop owner’s doors.

Word-of-mouth ranked as the most popular way of finding local small businesses (79 percent). This spells good news for business owners who use the marketing channel well-known for spreading and amplifying word-of-mouth: social media.

Social Media and Mobile Momentum Grows

Small businesses flocked to social media this year.

Eighty-seven percent of the shops polled for the Small Business Saturday Insights Survey from NFIB and American Express said that they were promoting Small Business Saturday on social media. Facebook is the most popular channel among people using social media (96 percent). Twitter ranks a distant second at 33 percent while Pinterest and Google+ tie for third with 15 percent each.

Holiday shoppers are also starting to get on board. Nearly a quarter of consumers (23 percent) plan to redeem offers and jump on deals that they encounter on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, according to the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker.

Underscoring the growing popularity of mobile devices, the tracker shows that 32 percent of consumers will seek out deals on their smartphones this shopping season, compared to 24 percent last year. Eighteen percent will browse for gifts ideas versus 13 percent in 2011. Seventeen percent will compare prices online this year compared to 12 percent in 2011.

Consumers are also getting a little more comfortable completing purchases on their iPhones and Android handsets. While only 11 percent plan to buy gifts on their phones, it’s a big jump from the mere six percent that let their fingers do the shopping last year.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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