On Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, Small Business Saturday celebrated its seventh anniversary and, in doing so, saw a record 112 million consumers shop on that day−representing a 13 percent increase over 2015.

Here are some eye-opening statistics for loyalty marketers from small businesses that participated in Small Business Saturday.

According to the Post-Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express, awareness of Small Business Saturday reached 72 percent, slightly above the 70 percent recorded last year.

Here are some other key insights from Small Business Saturday this year include:

More than 6,700 Neighborhood Champions around the country rallied local businesses and created events and activities in their communities, a 63 year-over-year increase over 2015

A total of 288 Federal Officials and Agencies showed support for Small Business Saturday through posts on social media

A total of 480 organizations signed up to support the nationwide initiative through the Small Business Saturday Coalition

Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Small Business Saturday spokesperson for American Express, talked to Loyalty360 about the event’s impact on loyalty marketers.

What is the message for loyalty marketers?

“In a nutshell, persistence pays off,” Leinbach Reyhle said. “Small Business Saturday was founded in 2010 and, as each year has passed, we’ve seen an increase in consumer support as well as business participation. This year, more shoppers reported visiting local independent businesses on Small Business Saturday than ever before, according to results from the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express. An estimated 112 million consumers reported shopping at small businesses on Small Business Saturday, marking a 13 percent increase from 2015.”

Since American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010, customers, businesses, communities, and even corporate sponsors have become more engaged each year.

“Keeping this in mind, this most recent Small Business Saturday welcomed nearly 100 corporate sponsors supporting the day, as well as more than 6,700 Neighborhood Champions from across the country, rallied local businesses and created events in their communities for Small Business Saturday — an increase of 63 percent over last year,” she added. “The estimated number of small business owners reached through the Neighborhood Champion program was 2.1 million, which certainly had an impact on consumer visibility and participation, as well. The combined efforts of all Small Business Saturday supporters helped make 2016 a great year in terms of customer participation.”

What can small businesses do better in the future from a loyalty marketing perspective?

“Small business owners are busy folks, so it helps to both take advantage of free press and marketing support when available, such as ShopSmall.com, which offers free customizable downloadable marketing materials to small businesses, as well as leverage the use of the #ShopSmall hashtag year round since this message extends well beyond Small Business Saturday,” Leinbach Reyhle said. “Another tip for small businesses to consider is to be persistent with their efforts. Participating in one year of Small Business Saturday, for example, is great, however, participating every year lends itself to customers becoming more familiar with it and, in return, more loyal to supporting it.” 

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