Good Friday began to gradually expand hour by hour to Thanksgiving, until one could rush for Thanksgiving lunch to get in line before Christmas.
Although there was pushback from some to stay out of the national holiday, that doesn’t mean people are against expanding their business opportunities. Some “Black Friday” sales start days or weeks before everyone roasts a turkey.
Economist and accounting firm Deloitte puts the expected sales for Black Friday shoppers at around $500 each. Get a good chance to get in the door on a 70-inch flat screen or follow the hard way to get a PlayStation 5, and this can go up. In 2021, total revenue hit $33.9 billion, down 1.4% from 2020.
That’s a lot of money. It’s a big part of vacation spending that’s the fourth-highest in sales.
But it’s not just marketing money. Although Black Friday spreads its waves through October in person and online, including what has become known as Cyber Monday, there is one day where the math is a little different. The day after Good Friday is Small Business Saturday.
There are 32.5 million small businesses in the US, which make up more than 99% of all businesses. According to American Express, which launched its Small Business Saturday campaign to support small businesses, about $23.3 billion was spent on small businesses in 2021.
Is it the same as Black Friday? Not at all. But there is an argument that it is more impressive.
First of all, Small Business Saturday is just one day, not an overarching goal. Then there’s the fact that they’re multi-million dollar ad-free stores. No one is standing outside, no one is being stomped on to get the same score as Tickle Me Elmo this year.
And this shows how much people appreciate stores where the products are unique.
Perhaps it’s bookstores that operate with a sleight of hand that Amazon can’t match. Maybe it’s a Main Street jewelry store where the owner knows your wife’s birthstone and puts something just right for her. Maybe it’s a candy store with one-of-a-kind fudge.
There is a time and place for national chains and online options. An economy depends on a group of different activities. But if they are the muscle that lifts the holiday season, small businesses are the bones that support not only the economy but also their communities.