Small Business Saturday and holiday shopping in general will be subdued this year
Just 30% of people say they plan to patronize a small business on Small Business Saturday, down from 39% in 2019 and 44% in 2018, according to a new CNBC|SurveyMonkey Small Business Saturday Poll. The steepest drop comes among those in the highest income brackets, 50% of whom last year said they planned to shop on Small Business Saturday, compared with just 36% now.
But it’s not just small businesses that can expect fewer customers during the 2020 holiday shopping season; 61% of people say they don’t plan shop on any of the typical blockbuster days for retailers—Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday—up from 49% last year.
Some 43% of people expect to spend less on holiday gifts this season (up from 27% last year), while just 9% say they plan to spend more (down from 15% last year), and 46% plan to spend about the same as previously (down from 56% last year). Nearly half of those with household incomes under $50,000 (49%) are planning to spend less on gifts this year.
This drop in consumer demand comes despite the fact that a majority of people (59%) say that local businesses in their community are taking the right amount of precautions to protect in-store shoppers from the coronavirus, and another 12% say they are taking too many precautions (27% say they are not taking enough precautions). Those who are more satisfied with the precautions that local businesses are taking are more likely to shop in person: 50% of those who think businesses are taking too many precautions and 41% of those who think businesses are taking the right amount of precautions say they’re doing their Small Business Saturday shopping in-person, vs. 26% of those who say local businesses aren’t taking enough precautions.
Just 13% of people say local businesses in their communities are “not strict at all” in enforcing mask mandates, while 43% say they are “somewhat strict” and another 43% say they are “very strict.” This varies somewhat by geography, with greater degree of enforcement in the northeast and west vs. the midwest and south.
Amidst the pandemic, online shopping is key
This year a full quarter of those who say they will be patronizing a small business plan to do their shopping online, a steep increase from 8% in 2019; correspondingly, just 39% say they plan to do their Small Business Saturday shopping solely in-person, down from 58% last year.
About half of people in the U.S. (49%) now say they generally prefer to do their shopping online and half (50%) in person, a marked shift from last year, when 60% preferred shopping in person and just 39% preferred shopping online.
With online shopping being especially important this year due to the pandemic, 66% of people say their household subscribes to Amazon Prime, up five points from this time last year. Just 12% of people say they don’t use Amazon at all. By income, these numbers are even more contrasting, with 85% of people with household incomes in the six figures saying they subscribe to Amazon Prime and just four percent saying they don’t shop on Amazon.
Holiday shopping enthusiasm is down overall this year, with the number of people saying they’re most excited to go shopping on Black Friday ticking down from 19% last year to 15% this year, and the number most excited to go shopping Small Business Saturday also dipping from 8% to 6%, while the number most excited to go shopping on Cyber Monday held steady at 12%. Still, a majority of people (65%) say they aren’t excited to go shopping on any of those days, up from 59% last year.
Read more about our polling methodology here.
Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below: