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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

The Best Days for Holiday Sales: A Guide for Businesses

The Best Days for Holiday Sales: A Guide for Businesses
Credit: Otnaydur/Shutterstock

As any small business owner will tell you, holiday sales can either make or break their bottom line. In fact, for some retailers, the holidays represent nearly 30 percent of their total yearly sales, according to the National Retail Federation. With many Americans having already started their holiday shopping, now is the time for small businesses to prepare for the booming season ahead.

Not sure which days you should focus on for your post-Thanksgiving sales? Here's a quick rundown of the biggest sale days, their histories and which businesses they suit best.

According to Visual Thesaurus, the day after Thanksgiving came to be known as Black Friday in the early 1960s, when Philadelphia police officers used it as a negative term to describe the city's holiday shopping traffic jams. The name stuck, and in the '80s, businesses put a positive spin on Black Friday by rebranding it as a day for stores to "get back in the black." While larger merchants usually rule Black Friday with midnight (or earlier) openings and sales throughout the day, many small businesses also offer in-store and online discounts. Read our Black Friday tips here.

Small Business Saturday is all about celebrating local merchants. Started by American Express during the 2010 holiday season, this sale day encourages consumers to "shop small" and give independent retailers a fighting chance in between the huge Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales of larger competitors. Small Business Saturday is typically geared toward promoting brick-and-mortar retailers, and it continues to grow in consumer recognition and spending each year. Read our Small Business Saturday tips here.

About a decade ago, ecommerce businesses began noticing that sales increased on the Monday after Thanksgiving, when most Americans are back to work after the long weekend. A press release issued in 2005 by the National Retail Federation officially coined the term "Cyber Monday," and by 2010, it had become the biggest online shopping day of the year, The Washington Post reported. Retailers that sell exclusively online love to run sales on Cyber Monday, but those that have brick-and-mortar and ecommerce operations can also take advantage of this shopping day. Read our Cyber Monday tips here.

Super Saturday is a name retailers use to describe the last full Saturday of shopping before Christmas. This year, it falls on Dec. 23, and ShopperTrak, which monitors shopper visits to retailers, expects it to be the second busiest shopping day of the holiday season, given its proximity to Christmas. Lots of last-minute shoppers are expected to hit big chain stores and small businesses alike looking for deals. Many retailers plan to offer promotional items, one-day sales, competitive pricing and extended hours to attract customers looking to check off those last few names from their gift lists.

Additional reporting by Nicole Fallon.

Paula Fernandes

Paula is a New Jersey-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in English and a Master's degree in Education. She spent nearly a decade working in education, primarily as the director of a college's service-learning and community outreach center. Her prior experience includes stints in corporate communications, publishing, and public relations for non-profits. Reach her by email.