Black Friday Is a Boon to Local Retailers. What About ‘Small Business Saturday’?

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Small Business Saturday has become a big event for local retailers, but new transaction data from the software company Womply suggests that revenue on that day is less outstanding than business owners may expect.

According to Womply’s data, published in a new report, Small Business Saturday lags behind Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and 13 other days during the holiday period between November 1st and December 31st. Daily revenue on Small Business Saturday is still up 27% compared to an average day, but average purchase prices are down 13%.

The data suggests that local retailers may be relying too heavily on deals to bring in customers on Small Business Saturday, cutting into already thin profit margins.

Looking at small, independent retailers across the nation, Womply found that local stores bring in an average daily revenue of $1,576, with an average purchase price of $121. During the holiday season, that average daily revenue jumps to $1,775. On Black Friday, the top revenue day of the year, daily revenue reaches its peak at $3,087, or 95.9% above the daily average.

Womply Vice President of Brand and Communications Brad Plothow says he was surprised to discover just how big Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become for small retailers. He was also surprised to see what a little impact Small Business Saturday has on seasonal sales.

“That Cyber Monday was such a big day might have been the biggest surprise, as the small retailers in our study are not heavily invested in e-commerce. They are predominantly single-location, brick-and-mortar shops with little-to-no online presence,” Plothow says.

Northeastern states benefit the most from the holiday sales rush, according to Womply’s data, with average daily revenue for retailers in New Hampshire up 56% during the holiday season, followed by Vermont (35%), Ohio (31%), Rhode Island (30%), Connecticut (29%), and Massachusetts (29%).

Small retailers in New York see the largest average revenue per day during the holiday season, at $2,966, followed closely by Nevada ($2,949) and New Hampshire ($2,883).

Plothow says it wasn’t possible to draw definitive conclusions about why Northeastern states benefit the most from the holiday sales rush based on transaction data alone, but one possible explanation could be that local economies in the Northeast rely more heavily on small, local retailers than other parts of the country, where big box stores still play a larger role.

“In addition to big numbers in the Northeast, many towns [in] rural states see big increases, which seems to support the theory that local retailers are a higher part of the holiday shopping pie in these spots,” he says.

Looking at the big picture, Plothow says the findings from Womply’s latest analysis of holiday transactions indicate that the biggest days at local shops might not be the ones shopkeepers expect. The best week for revenue was December 17th through the 23rd, away from the “big 3” shopping days. And Small Business Saturday was just the 22nd best revenue day of the year, with average purchase prices that are lower than the typical day.

“Our studies of sales patterns on Main Street highlight the unique consumer-spending landscape facing small shops,” Plothow says. “We want to empower small retailers to seize growth opportunities they discover in the data set to inform their yearly forecasting and business strategies.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.
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