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NEW YORK -- Major retailers and their Black Friday sales may have grabbed the majority of headlines this past week, but small businesses were not left out of the holiday shopping frenzy with the success of Small Business Saturday.
According to the second installment of the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express, consumer awareness of Small Business Saturday jumped to 67 percent from 34 percent just two weeks ago. Of those aware, nearly half (47 percent) shopped on Small Business Saturday.
With increased awareness came increased spending. Those U.S. consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday spent a total of $5.5 billion with independent merchants. Pre-holiday surveys estimated that U.S. consumers would spend $5.3 billion, according to NFIB.
Separately, American Express said card member transactions at small business merchants rose approximately 21 percent compared to last year's Small Business Saturday.
"In an uncertain economy, America's small businesses have remained a beacon -- creating good jobs and supporting the families they employ and the communities around them," said NFIB CEO Dan Danner. "We are very pleased that so many Americans sought to give back by shopping small this Small Business Saturday. We hope that support of small firms, retailers, restaurants and other independent businesses continues throughout the holiday season and all year round. Continued support of this vital sector is one important way to ensure our economy fully recovers and a healthy private sector is restored."
Small Business Saturday got a boost when elected officials, among them President Barack Obama, championed the initiative. In addition, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a Small Business Saturday Resolution, which supports efforts to encourage consumers to shop locally and increase awareness of the value of locally owned small businesses. The resolution received bi-partisan support from more than 40 co-sponsors.
In addition, more than 350 small business organizations supported the nationwide initiative with more than 50 Chambers of Commerce and 60 groups organizing events and activities in support of the day.
"Small Business Saturday, in its third year, has become an integral part of the holiday shopping season and consumers were out in large numbers to support their favorite small businesses," said Susan Sobbott, president of American Express OPEN. "Small Business Saturday celebrated the shops across the country that make our neighborhoods vibrant and bolster the U.S. economy."