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Americans Spend Billions on Small Business Saturday

NEW YORK - Small Business Saturday, which took place on November 24, exceeded any expectations as American consumers spent $5.5 billion, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express.

As millions of U.S. consumers "shopped small" on Small Business Saturday, it made a big impact on local communities, according to the second installment of the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey. Consumer awareness of Small Business Saturday also jumped to 67 percent from 34 percent just two weeks ago. Of those aware, nearly half (47 percent) shopped on Small Business Saturday.

This increased awareness translated into higher spending. 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. (American Express said Cardmember 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 Dan Danner, CEO, NFIB, in a statement. "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."

Now in its third year, more than 350 small business organizations supported the nationwide initiative with more than 50 Chambers of Commerce and 60 groups organizing events and activities supporting the day. In addition, 155 corporations, including FedEx, Twitter, AOL/Patch and Clear Channel, joined together to promote shopping at small merchants for Small Business Saturday, as well as elected officials in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., including President Obama and many senior government officials.
More than 3.2 million Facebook users "liked" the Small Business Saturday Facebook page, while more than 213,000 tweets were sent in support of Small Business Saturday in November, including consumers spreading the word and business owners promoting offers that they specifically created for the day.

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.

The inaugural Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, released earlier this month by the NFIB and American Express, indicated that 46 percent of independent merchants familiar with the day planned to incorporate Small Business Saturday into their holiday strategy.

Small merchants placed permanent point-of-purchase decals on their storefronts, adding to the 500,000 who placed them in 2011. Online tools and materials were leveraged more than 100,000 times by small business owners to help get the word out about Small Business Saturday.

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