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Amex Study: Social Media Shout-Outs Could Pump $197B Into SMB Economy

As the holidays grow closer, American Express says research has shown that social media promotions and engagement could be a big boost for this year’s Small Business Saturday event, according to a press release.

The event is the company’s 11th annual one, and the American Express Shop Small Impact study found that 78 percent of businesses reported that a social media campaign had helped to drive sales, with endorsements of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) having the potential to be worth as much as $197 billion for the U.S. SMB economy.

This year, Small Business Saturday will take place Nov. 28, during Thanksgiving weekend, as workers continue to try to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

It could have a positive effect. Last year, 110 million people participated in Small Business Saturday, with sales hitting a record $19.6 billion, the release stated.

This year, that could be even more pertinent, as 89 percent of survey respondents said they were likely to shop at a smaller establishment recommended by someone they know, the release stated.

Small Business Saturday initially debuted in 2010 in response to the Great Recession and has since evolved into a global event meant to highlight smaller merchants.

This year, with the global pandemic posing significant financial challenges for businesses everywhere, the release stated 46 percent of SMB owners are depending on a strong showing of holiday spending to stay in business by the time 2021 starts. They’re innovating in a number of ways, including extending store hours, using social media for the first time, offering giveaways and partnering with other businesses around them.

Fifty-five percent of the businesses that closed due to the pandemic by the summer didn’t think they would be able to reopen, PYMNTS reported, citing a survey by Yelp. The majority of those businesses included restaurants, with retail close behind. Some of the highest closure rates came from areas with the strictest stay-at-home orders.

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