A week after the holiday-shopping season kicked off, the numbers for the third-annual Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24 are in:
Millions of U.S. consumers spent an estimated $5.5 billion dollars with independent merchants, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express, which started Small Business Saturday three years ago.
Pre-holiday surveys estimated U.S. consumers would spent $5.3 billion.
But the big bucks weren't limited to Small Business Saturday or Black Friday. Austin-based Bigcommerce, an e-commerce platform for more than 30,000 small and mid-sized businesses, clocked 3,400 orders per second on Cyber Monday.
Locally, many small business owners say the day exceeded their expectations. "It was by far the best year yet for SouthEnd," said Ted Boyd, director of historic SouthEnd with Charlotte Center City Partners.
More than 75 small businesses in SouthEnd participated, up from 10 small businesses in 2010, Boyd said.
Wayne Parker, who co-owns Whispering Willow Soap Co. at Atherton Market with his wife Julia Gold, said business was up 300 percent from the same day last year. The couple offered a 20 percent promotion for the day.
Amy MacCabe, owner of Savory Spice Shop, said Nov. 24 was the store's biggest sales and transaction day to date.
Some other interesting national stats:
- The Small Business Saturday Facebook page, which encourages consumers to shop local and offers advice to small business owners, has 3.2 million likes, up from 2.4 million likes last year.
- More than 213,000 tweets were sent in support of Small Business Saturday in November, many using the hashtags #smallbizsat and #shopsmall.