Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 29 seconds

Consumers flocked to stores on Black Friday, retreated to their computers on Cyber Monday and knocked it out of the park on Small Business Saturday - combining their efforts to increase holiday sales by 4.2% over last year’s totals. But it was Small Business Saturday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) that stole the show this weekend – and when the dust settled and the virtual shelves restocked – they had millennials to thank.

Small Business Saturday began in 2010 as an idea by American Express to help small businesses struggling to compete against giants like Walmart and Amazon. It was also a way for customers to connect with their communities noting that buying local puts money back into the local economy.

According to Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Analytics, "Small Business Saturday posted a record breaking $3.6 billion dollars that was fueled by strong gains from both large and small retailers alike.” In fact, Adobe noted that sales from Saturday increased 18% YOY. Adobe also concluded that companies with less than $50 million in revenue saw their daily sales double than an average day last month.

So why are people suddenly flocking to local stores and online shops for their holiday gifts? Millennials are a huge factor as to why the small business movement has seen a resurgence in recent years.

 A recent study by OnePoll on behalf of Vistaprint found that 61% of millennials expected to shop at small businesses versus 15% from those ages 55 and older. As for the reasoning – the study found that 51% of millennials shop small to support their community followed by convenience (49%).

Vistaprint North America Director Erin Shea explained, “Our results show that the shopping small movement is alive and well, and it’s being driven by millennial consumers. We’re excited to help small business owners seize the opportunity to build an even better relationship with their Gen Y customers.”

Small businesses with an online presence tended to fare better than their brick and mortar counterparts with limited online presence. Adobe found mobile purchases made up 42% of all online revenue this past Saturday - up over 20% from 2018.

In Vistaprint’s study – they found that millennials find small businesses online through social media, online reviews, and a company’s website. A whopping 34% say that they weren’t likely to shop at a business who did not have an online presence.

It’s clear from the increasing trend that millennials crave a different type of shopping experience than their older counterparts. While many consumers flock to Amazon for the ease (they have literally anything you could ever want) and one-day shipping – millennials are opting for a more authentic buying experience at local boutiques and e-commerce stores where they sight better customer service and the quality of products.

With 19 days until Hanukkah and 22 days until Christmas – you have plenty of time to shop for your loved ones this holiday season. Will you be purchasing from local shops and online boutiques or will you shop at Amazon for convenience and ease?

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Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.

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