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Your Next Big Holiday Shopping Opportunity

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/12/09/your-next-big-holiday-shopping-opportunity.aspx

Rich Duprey
December 9, 2013

Between Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, you may have missed the latest effort to get you to spend more, more, mawr! Tucked into that same weekend was Small Business Saturday, an effort by credit card giant American Express (NYSE: AXP) to get consumers to patronize local shops instead of (or at least in addition to) the mass merchandise retailers.

Considering Cyber Monday was a made up marketing gimmick by the National Retail Federation that's since taken on a life of its own and actually became the biggest online sales day of the year, you can't blame small business owners for trying to recreate that effect for themselves.

Cyber Monday -- and what's gone on to become Cyber Week -- was a huge success this year with Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) and eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) scoring big as traffic jumped 44% and 32%, respectively, according to the market watchers at ChannelAdvisor. 

While the clicks beat out the bricks in terms of who garnered the most traffic, even retailers with a physical presence did well; for instance, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) said Monday was its biggest online sales day ever. Over the entire five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday -- what ChannelAdvisor is calling the "Cyber 5" -- its e-commerce website recorded more than one billion page views. Cyber Monday is becoming a week-long shopping extravaganza now, which is why Wal-Mart's Sam's Club division extended all its holiday promotions through Dec. 8.

Small Business Saturday is a newer effort that was conceived of by a blogger who asked her readers to imagine three small businesses they couldn't live without and then spend at least $50 with them. The concept was launched nationally with the help of Amex three years ago, and according to a survey released by the credit card giant and the National Federation of Independent Business, it's a concept that's starting to gain traction.

Consumer awareness of SBS jumped to 71% from 67% a year ago, according to the survey of 1,000 adults, and for those who were aware, almost half did spend money locally, dropping $5.7 billion on independent merchants, a 3.6% increase fro