84% of consumers want to buy from small businesses this holiday season

87% are more likely to return at other times of the year after visiting and buying from a small business during the holidays.

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Shoppers are on the lookout for new small businesses this holiday season. Eighty-four percent of consumers said they’re likely to visit one in the next two months, according to a new study by digital marketing and automation platform Constant Contact and research firm Ascend2.

Additionally, 87% of consumers said they are more likely to return at other times throughout the year after visiting and buying from a small business (defined as having less than 250 employees) during the holidays.

Why we care. Promotional periods earlier in the year like Amazon Prime Day pit big chains and ecommerce giants against each other for deal-hunting shoppers. As the holidays approach, these same retailers will again pull out all the stops. But in 4Q, shoppers also show an interest in buying from SMBs. This survey of 500 U.S. SMB decision makers in retail and other industries and 500 U.S. consumers shows the high stakes that small businesses are playing for at this time of year.

Holiday pressure. For many SMBs, the holiday is make-or-break.

  • 75% of retail and ecommerce SMBs say they rely heavily on holiday customers to hit their annual revenue goals.
  • 73% of all SMBs surveyed attribute more than one-quarter of their annual sales to the holiday period.
  • 58% of retail SMBs say that holiday customers are “extremely important” to the overall success of their business.

Growth strategies. SMBs say these are the marketing tools they use the most:

  • Personalized emails and texts (52%)
  • Social media ads (42%)
  • Sales and discounts (40%)

Dig deeper: 70% of SMB marketers willing to pay more for tools with AI

Retention in the new year. Almost all (93%) of SMBs believe that retaining customers in the new year is important. However, only 18% said their strategy is “highly effective.” And 14% have no retention strategy at all, according to the survey.

This is a missed opportunity because consumers are especially primed to hear back from SMBs they visited during the holidays. Eighty-one percent of consumers said they are more open to receiving emails and texts from a small business they visited during the holidays than from a business they visited at other times during the year.

Less than half (49%) of consumers reported receiving an email from an SMB after making a purchase. And 27% said after they visit or buy from an SMB for the first time, they never hear from the business again.

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About the author

Chris Wood
Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country's first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on "innovation theater" at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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