There may not have been 10 p.m. openings and door-buster sales at small businesses around the country on Nov. 26, but that didn’t stop Small Business Saturday from exceeding projections. An estimated 103 million people participated in the second annual event, which took place on the day after Black Friday. Those 103 million people exceeded projections that expected participation by 89 million people.
Sales recorded on American Express cards on Nov. 26 were also up 23 percent from the same Saturday last year. That increase comes on the heels of a 28 percent increase that came during last year's inaugural Small Business Saturday. Additionally, awareness of the event by the public rose to 65 percent compared to 37 percent in 2010.
"Millions of Americans turned out to support local merchants and made this year’s Small Business Saturday a big success," said Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive officer of American Express. "We want to thank all the consumers, public officials, community organizations, chambers of commerce and corporate partners who were part of the movement. By supporting small businesses across America, they are helping to create jobs, boost the economy and preserve our neighborhoods."
President Barack Obama and his family were among these 103 million shoppers who participated in the second annual Small Business Saturday. The president and his family, who visited the independently owned bookstore Kramerbooks in Washington, D.C., joined elected officials from all 50 states in support of this year's event.
A big reason behind the success of the second Small Business Saturday came from a combined effort between larger businesses and increased social media exposure. Statistics from this year's event showed that:
- More than 2.7 million Facebook users “liked” the Small Business Saturday page, up from 1.2 million "likes" in the prior year.
- Many followers took to Twitter and nearly 195,000 tweets were sent about the event in November. These tweets used the hashtags #smallbusinesssaturday and #smallbizsat to promote the event.
- 75 large corporations, including Google, FedEx and Facebook, helped to sponsor this year's Small Business Saturday.
- More than 500,000 small business owners utilized resources from these corporations that allowed them to promote themselves using online tools and promotional materials in store. That included 15,000 small businesses that signed up and received free Facebook advertising.
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