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New Research from American Express Indicates Consumers Are Planning Holiday Shopping at Small Businesses That Make Positive Impact

November 23, 2021
New Research from American Express Indicates Consumers Are Planning Holiday Shopping at Small Businesses That Make Positive Impact

Amex Trendex and American Express Shop Small Impact Survey Find Support for Small Businesses With Unique Offerings and Ethical Sourcing

Shopping at a small business is on the busy holiday to-do list for a majority of U.S. consumers, according to recent American Express surveys. Doing so brings them joy and excitement, and they also are aware that seeking out small businesses – especially those that ethically source products and seek to minimize their environmental impact – is a way to show support for their local communities, said respondents in two seasonal surveys.

“It has never been more important to support local businesses,” said Keewa Nurullah, owner of Chicago-based children’s boutique Kido. “As we head into the holiday season, I am grateful that consumers recognize the importance of supporting the businesses that make our communities unique and are prioritizing shopping with eco-friendly businesses like mine.”

American Express is in the midst of a season-long Shop Small® campaign, putting its Powerful Backing behind small merchants from restaurants to retailers. It’s part of the company’s goal to drive $100 billion in reported consumer spending at small businesses from 2021 through 2025.1

According to recent data shared in the Amex Trendex and the American Express Shop Small Impact Survey, would-be gift-givers are looking to do their part to have an overall positive impact: 

  • American Express Shop Small Impact Survey
    • 42% of consumers surveyed say they plan to Shop Small on Small Business Saturday (November 27) and 80% of consumers say they are likely to shop small this holiday season
    • Seven-in-ten consumers surveyed agree that they are more conscious about making sure they shop at small businesses this year compared to previous years and seek out small businesses when shopping
    • 79% of consumers surveyed agree that the best and most unique holiday gifts come from small businesses

For details of the Shop Small Impact Survey, click here: Shop Small Impact Holiday 2021

  • Amex Trendex, an American Express trend report
    • 75% of consumers surveyed agree that shopping in-person at a small business brings them joy and drives excitement for the holidays
    • It’s important to consumers surveyed to purchase holiday gifts that:
      • Support small or local businesses (81%)
      • Are ethically sourced (63%) 
      • Are sustainable/minimize their environmental impact (64%)
      • From retailers that are certified B Corporations (50%)
      • Are from women-owned businesses (45%)
      • Are from minority-owned businesses (47%)

For details of the Amex Trendex, click here: Amex Trendex Holiday 2021

Mackenzi Farquer, owner of Lockwood, a home and gift store in Brooklyn, N.Y., appreciates the consumer conversation surrounding Shop Small, especially over the rollercoaster of 2021. “The last year has demonstrated how important it is to get out and support your favorite local businesses. When you Shop Small you are doing so much more than buying a product. You are supporting your local community and helping to keep the businesses that make them unique alive.”


Shop Small is a movement that supports small, independent businesses and calls attention to the valuable and distinct contributions they make to their communities and the economy. Shop Small celebrates small businesses ranging from retail stores and restaurants to fitness studios and salons, and everything in between. The Shop Small movement was spurred by the widespread participation in Small Business Saturday, a day founded in 2010 by American Express. This national holiday shopping tradition is dedicated to celebrating small businesses and driving more customers through their doors on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. November 27, 2021 marks the 12th annual Small Business Saturday, proudly backed by American Express. Learn more and connect with us on ShopSmall.cominstagram.com/shopsmallfacebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday


The American Express Shop Small Impact Study consisted of two studies conducted by Teneo on behalf of American Express. The consumer survey was an anonymous online survey conducted from October 13-18, 2021 among a sample of 1,013 adults 18 years of age and older. Consumer data is weighted by five variables: age, sex, geographic region, race and education to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population, 18 years of age and older based on U.S. Census data. The small business owner survey was conducted online among a sample of 523 small business owners/managers in the U.S. from October 12-19, 2021. Respondent companies must conduct sales in a physical location in one of the following industries: arts/entertainment/recreation, retail trade, restaurant/bar/coffee shop/hotel/hospitality, or personal services.


The Amex Trendex is a trend index that tracks how consumers, small businesses, and merchants are feeling about spending, saving, traveling and more. Data is sourced on a monthly basis in the United States and biannually globally, including in the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Mexico, India, and Canada. Methodology: The Morning Consult poll was conducted between October 5-8th, 2021 among a national sample of 2,000 general population travelers with a household income of at least $70K and defined as adults who traveled by air at least once in 2019. Results from the survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

1Based on spend as reported by consumers in surveys commissioned by American Express (not actual receipts or sales).



This release includes forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contain words such as “expect,” “estimate,” “goal,” “intend,” “plan,” “aim,” “will,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “likely,” and similar expressions. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including those described in American Express’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. American Express undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

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