Small Business Saturday Turns 10: American Express Continues Backing Small Businesses

In honor of the 10th annual Small Business Saturday®, taking place on November 30, American Express is illuminating the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners today, as well as educating consumers on the positive impact of shopping small year-round.

With the state of retail changing — from rising rents to shifting consumer behavior — and many communities experiencing shuttering shops, support of small businesses is vital.

According to the Shop Small® Consumer Impact survey from American Express, 73% of people feel that empty storefronts are a national issue and 84% agree that the increase in empty storefronts and closing of small, independently owned businesses negatively affects their local community.1

“We recognize the hardships faced by small business owners today and want to inspire people to take notice and Shop Small to support their communities on Small Business Saturday and beyond,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, Chief Marketing Officer at American Express. “Retail is changing, but local shops are the fabric of our communities, helping them to thrive in the future is part of our brand ethos and backing promise.”

An average of $0.67 of every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S. ends up staying in that local community,2 but the impact does not stop there. The Shop Small Consumer Impact Survey from American Express found that when consumers are aware of their impact, 75% say they would be more likely to purchase a product or service from a small independently owned business1. Over the past 9 years, consumers reported spending more than $100 billion at small businesses on Small Business Saturday3. Based on that reported spend, and taking into account that an average of two-thirds of every dollar spent at a small business stays in that community2, an estimated $67 billion has stayed local on Small Business Saturday, helping communities thrive.

Thousands of community organizations across the nation have already pledged to be Neighborhood Champions this year, committing to host events and activities on Small Business Saturday to rally their communities and increase awareness of the benefits of shopping small with consumers.

For the 10th annual Small Business Saturday, American Express has developed an interactive experience and handbook to help small businesses prepare for the future of shopping small. The company is also committing to making shopping small a year-long movement and will launch a marketing campaign to bring greater awareness to the impact we all can make in our local communities when we Shop Small.

The Big Future of Shopping Small:

American Express is raising awareness of the issues impacting small businesses and helping companies future proof their business through guides, grants and insights.

Interactive Experience: American Express is partnering with trend forecasting company, WGSN, to inform consumers and small business owners what the future of shopping small could look like over the next 10 years. The unique retail experience located in New York City (632 Broadway New York, NY 10012) will include: AI & AR retail technologies, reimagined physical retail spaces, clothing from zero waste clothing manufacturing and more. The experience will be open to the public on November 23, 24, 30 and December 1 from 11am to 6pm ET.
Guide: With insights garnered from WGSN, American Express is backing small businesses by creating a Future of Shopping Small Guide filled with actionable tips to help small business owners begin to future-proof their businesses. This guide will be widely available at on November 22, 2019.
Grant: American Express is also collaborating with Main Street America (MSA) to give 10 small business owners a $10k grant each to help their businesses innovate in this evolving retail landscape. The grant program celebrates small businesses across the country that have demonstrated new approaches to traditional retail strategies and businesses that are looking to try out new techniques. The application to apply for this grant will be available starting on November 30th at Deadline to apply is March 31, 2020.
Shop Small Year-Round & Make An Impact

American Express is also increasing the company’s efforts to support small businesses year-round by recognizing Card Member’s spending at small merchants.

Starting this year through next, Card Members will see their Shop Small spend add up through personalized email communications and the American Express mobile experience. By showcasing the impact Card Member spend has on their communities, American Express hopes it inspires a conscious decision to Shop Small year-round.

“We believe in backing small businesses because we know they strengthen the communities where we live and work,” said Anna Marrs President, Global Commercial Services at American Express. “By educating our Card Members and consumers broadly to Shop Small on Small Business Saturday and all year-round, we believe they will see their neighborhoods thrive.”


November 30th is the tenth annual Small Business Saturday, proudly backed by American Express. Dedicated to supporting the diverse range of local businesses that create jobs, help boost the economy, and enhance neighborhoods around the country, Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: getting more customers. Learn more at and connect with us on,,


Shop Small is a nationwide movement to support small, independent businesses and call attention to the valuable and distinct contributions they make to their communities and the economy. Shop Small celebrates small businesses ranging from retail stores and restaurants to fitness studios and salons, and everything in between. The Shop Small movement was spurred by the widespread participation in Small Business Saturday, a day founded in 2010 by American Express. This national holiday shopping tradition is dedicated to celebrating small businesses and driving more customers through their doors on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. November 30, 2019 marks the tenth annual Small Business Saturday, proudly backed by American Express. Learn more and connect with us on,,


WGSN is the authority on consumer and design trends, helping brands across the globe design and create on-trend products and experiences. Services cover consumer insights, fashion, beauty and lifestyle forecasting, data analytics, crowdsourced design validation and expert advisory services. WGSN is an Ascential company. Visit


WGSN is part of Ascential (LSE:ASCL.L), a specialist global information company that helps the world’s most ambitious businesses win in the digital economy. Ascential information, insights, connections, data and digital tools solve customer problems in three disciplines: Product Design via global trend forecasting service WGSN; Marketing via global benchmark for creative excellence and effectiveness Cannes Lions and WARC and strategic advisory firm MediaLink; and Sales via ecommerce-driven data, insights and advisory service Edge by Ascential, leading managed services provider for Amazon Flywheel Digital, the world’s premier payments and Fin Tech congress Money20/20, global retail industry summit World Retail Congress and retail news outlet Retail Week. Ascential also powers political, construction and environmental intelligence brands DeHavilland, Glenigan and Groundsure.


Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for close to 40 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share a commitment to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

1 The 2019 Shop Small Consumer Impact Survey was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of American Express between October 3-7, 2019 and interviewed of a nationally representative sample of 2,200 American adults 18 years of age or older online. The data were weighted to approximate a target sample of U.S. adults based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.

2 The 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study was conducted by Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) on behalf of American Express. ESI calculated the share of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment and employee compensation that small businesses with under 100 employees provide to the economy based on an analysis used by the U.S. Small Business Administration. ESI also estimated how much of each dollar spent at the average small business remains in their local community and used input-output analysis across 100 representative U.S. counties to calculate the additional impact that is generated locally as the result of the spending of employees and the spending of the small business with local suppliers and service providers.

3 Based on nationally-representative surveys conducted on behalf of American Express since 2012 on consumers’ self-reported spend on Small Business Saturday, which does not reflect actual receipts or sales.