Millions of Americans – including President Obama – participated in the second annual Small Business Saturday on November 26. The national event, launched last year by American Express to help promote small business shopping on the Saturday in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, offered a $25 credit to customers who spent $25 or more at a designated small business using their AMEX card. Additionally, AMEX created a free social media toolkit for small businesses and provided $100 in free Facebook ads to the first 10,000 business owners who signed up. As I noted in a post last year, I think this event sends a great message to consumers about the importance of supporting local businesses, which are declining in market share in major U.S. cities and facing hard times in of today’s economy.
Black Friday sales rose 6.6% over last year, indicating a strong start to the holiday shopping season, according to retail and consulting firm ShopperTrack. Initial reports show that a combination of deep discounts on popular products, early store openings (some stores opened Thursday night as opposed to the traditional Friday morning), and stronger online pushes helped drive higher results on this popular shopping day. Additional key metrics include:
- Online sales grew 24%, according to Coremetrics, the result of heavy investment by traditional retailers to get more online traction
- Brick-and-mortar retailers saw more visits, with foot traffic to malls and shopping centers up 5.5%, according to ShopperTrack
- Orders placed from mobile devices accounted for 9.8% of online sales, up from 3.2% last year, according to Coremetrics
- Apple’s iPhone and iPad accounted for more than 10% of overall online retail traffic, according to Coremetrics
- A little more than half a percent of sales were referred from social networking sites like Facebook
Nearly 90 million Americans, or 35.6% of all internet users, will use a tablet device on at least a monthly basis by 2014, according to a recent eMarketer report. eMarketer estimates that by the end of 2011, 33.7 million Americans will use a tablet device on at least a monthly basis – a rise of 158.6% over last year, when Apple’s first iPad model was released. The research firm predicts tablet growth will slow to double digits beginning in 2012, and that less growth will come from sharing devices and more from replacing older devices with new ones. The report also notes that the iPad’s U.S. market share will likely be chipped away by competitors in the years ahead, but that the number of iPad users will more than double between 2011 and 2014, from 28 million to 60.8 million (to account for about 68% of the overall U.S. tablet audience). Also of note: tablets are most popular with users aged 35 and above.