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Americans are Eager to Shop Local this Holiday Season to Support Small Business

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Karen Stoychoff

New survey reveals small business owners are set to win big with consumers this holiday season as a majority of Americans plan to skip Black Friday and instead support local shops on Small Business Saturday November 27.

By Karen Stoychoff


Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps means a little bit more! 

– How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Give the Grinch partial credit. Americans this year report they’ve put big box stores on the shelf in favor of supporting small, independently owned businesses that seem to mean just a little bit more to them.

According to a survey commissioned by SurePayroll, Americans prefer the shopping experience at independently owned businesses when compared to big box stores. The survey of more than 2,000 Americans conducted November 4 – 8, 2021, reveals that 78% prefer to buy from small businesses whenever they can. The poll illustrates that over the last 18 months the majority of Americans are shopping more frequently at independently owned businesses. And with Small Business Saturday fast-approaching, almost 50% of Americans will bypass Black Friday to instead to shop on the first Saturday following Thanksgiving.

“The survey shows small businesses have the potential to win big with consumers this holiday shopping season. Consumers crave the quality, in-person experience and connection to community that shopping with local small businesses can uniquely provide,” said John Cumbee, SurePayroll General Manager.

Spending Where the Heart Is

The emphasis this year on shopping small is due in large part to the emotional connection Americans have for local business owners and the value they bring to their community. The survey shows 80% believe small businesses are vital to their community and are overcome with sadness when they close up shop. Forty percent dislike big businesses because they replaced some of their favorite local shops. Three in four wish their community had more small businesses, and 79% wish their local government made it easier for small, independently owned businesses to thrive.

“Americans are invested in supporting independently owned small businesses, where the majority of their spend stays in the community and helps deliver a positive impact to the local economy. Given the choice, an overwhelming number of Americans this Small Business Saturday prefer to shop with small businesses, even if a large chain is closer or more convenient,” said Cumbee.

When it comes to competing with the big box chains, Americans give small businesses the edge. Seventy percent of Americans are willing to skip a more conveniently located chain and drive an average of eight miles further to support an independently owned small business. Eighty percent agree that employees at small businesses are friendlier and easier to connect with than workers at chain businesses, and the average American is on a first-name basis with six local mom and pop owners or employees. Americans also agree that high-quality items and attentive employees are much more common at small businesses. Many Americans feel that big businesses offer a more impersonal experience, something with little appeal after more than a year of isolation and online shopping, where customer service is essentially non-existent.

There’s also good news for small businesses worried about competing with the sales offered by large chains. While 70% of shoppers would have a negative reaction to big businesses that fail to offer sale Black Friday, only 55% said the same for small businesses, indicating wiggle room for forgiveness for potentially higher prices at independently owned shops.


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