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What Is Small Business Saturday?

By: American Heritage11.22.23

Small Business Saturday is always the last Saturday in November, falling between November 24 and November 30 depending on the year.

Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and a vital part of our cultural identity.

However, when it comes to holiday shopping, many consumers rely on retail giants, missing out on the opportunity to discover distinctive offerings and invest in their communities.

Held each November, Small Business Saturday is a chance for Main Street enterprises to capture a little more yuletide magic and market share. Here’s what small business owners need to know.


What Is Small Business Saturday?

For decades, the day after Thanksgiving has been referred to as “Black Friday.” It marks the start of the holiday shopping season, and for many merchants, the point at which they go from operating at a loss (“in the red”) to making a profit (“in the black”). Many major retailers entice shoppers with extended hours and deep discounts on Black Friday, and since 2005, online marketplaces have been targeting consumers with limited-time deals on Cyber Monday (three days later).

Thanks in part to this running start, big businesses nab the biggest chunk of holiday spending, both in-store and online. That’s why Small Business Saturday was created.

Established in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a chance for America’s independent retailers and service providers to shine. Through national sponsors—and increasingly through local partners like chambers of commerce and business improvement districts (BIDs)—participating merchants can get free marketing resources, giveaway items, listings in special shopping guides, and more. Meanwhile, with sales and spectacles all over town, residents are encouraged to “Shop Small” and experience the unique wares and personalized attention that only local businesses can provide.


When Does It Take Place?

In the U.S., Small Business Saturday is held on the Saturday right after Thanksgiving. It’s always the last Saturday in November, falling between November 24 and November 30 depending on the year. This strategically places Small Business Saturday amid other annual celebrations, making it an integral part of the holiday shopping season:

  • Thursday: Thanksgiving
  • Friday: Black Friday
  • Saturday: Small Business Saturday
  • Sunday: Artists Sunday
  • Monday: Cyber Monday
  • Tuesday: Giving Tuesday


What’s the History of the Event?

Here’s a brief timeline of Small Business Saturday:

  • 2010: The inaugural Small Business Saturday is held in the midst of the Great Recession.
  • 2011: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) becomes an official cosponsor.
  • 2011: The U.S. Senate unanimously passes a resolution in support of the event.
  • 2011: Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) launches the Small Business Saturday Coalition.
  • 2013: “Neighborhood Champions” begin to organize local events across the country.
  • 2015: Over 95 million U.S. shoppers participate, spending an estimated $16.2 billion.
  • 2020: Independent retailers adapt to COVID-19, enabling a 30% increase in e-commerce.
  • 2021: Small Business Saturday spending reaches an all-time high of $23.3 billion.


Who Can Participate?

There’s no official registration needed for Small Business Saturday, but it’s well worth your time to check your eligibility and get listed on the nationwide Shop Small Map, as well as any materials being produced in your city or region. Ask your local chamber of commerce or economic development agency how you can get involved. Anybody who wants to join the Shop Small movement is welcome to take part. This includes:

  • Small businesses, including retailers, service providers, and eateries
  • Consumers, including local residents, visiting family, and tourists
  • Community organizations like chambers of commerce and BIDs
  • Corporate sponsors at the local, regional, and national levels
  • Government agencies like the SBA and city planning offices

Why Is It Important?

Here are some benefits of taking part in this annual celebration – as both a seller and a shopper:

  • Boost your sales: Earn a bigger share of the $1 trillion spent every holiday season.
  • Increase brand awareness: Leverage free local and national promotional campaigns and events.
  • Nurture customer loyalty: Reward new and old clientele with special deals or giveaways.
  • Strut your stuff: Use the exposure to tell your story and show what’s truly unique about your business.
  • Trim your ad budget: Take advantage of co-op advertising and co-marketing opportunities.
  • Expand your network: Get to know other entrepreneurs at local events or planning sessions.
  • Refine your strategy: Use the momentum to connect with customers and notice buying trends.
  • Champion diversity: Support the 67% of small business owners from underrepresented groups.
  • Revitalize your community: Keep 68 cents of every dollar local when you spend at local shops.
  • Find one-of-a-kind gifts: Shop small for handcrafted items and memorable experiences.


Supporting Business Owners

American Heritage offers products and services for business owners to help them succeed. Visit our business site to view our business solutions and find what's best for your business today.



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