American Express said sales on the 12th Small Business Saturday, November 27, reached an all-time high, but other reports point to challenges facing local shops this holiday season.

American Express’ Consumer Insights Survey taken on November 28 estimated spending among U.S. consumers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached $23.3 billion, up 18.9 percent from pre-pandemic spending in 2019 ($19.6 billion).

Of those surveyed, 64 percent stated they make it a priority to seek out and shop at businesses run by underrepresented owners in their communities, given the challenges many faced during the pandemic.

A survey commissioned by LendingTree taken in mid-October also found 49 percent of Americans planned to participate in Small Business Saturday this year, and 63 percent agreed the pandemic strengthened their loyalty to small businesses. Nearly two in three (63 percent) knew a small business in their community that permanently closed due to the pandemic.

A contrary view came from a CNBC|Momentive survey taken in mid-November that found only 34 percent of consumers planning to shop on Small Business Saturday, up from 30 percent in 2020, but below pre-pandemic levels of 39 percent in 2019 and 44 percent in 2018.

Only eight percent of respondents were most excited about shopping on Small Business Saturday, similar to pre-pandemic levels. That compares to 19 percent being excited about Black Friday, 14 percent for Cyber Monday and 59 percent not being excited about shopping on any of the three days.

“Of course, consumers still have some love for Small Business Saturday, but it doesn’t have the same hype that we might have seen in previous years,” Laura Wronski, senior manager of research science at Momentive, told CNBC.

The survey found 43 percent are worried about supply chain issues with numerous articles noting that larger chains have the leverage and funding to better manage shortages. Concerning supply chain issues, 72 percent said they have noticed an increase in prices in the last three months. Many also report experiencing low or out-of-stock notices (62 percent), staff shortages at local businesses (55 percent) and shipping delays (51 percent).


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