News & Insight

Record footfall for Small Business Saturday

Jack Stratten

High streets were busier than ever for the 7th Small Business Saturday

A record number of British shoppers came out to show their support for Small Business Saturday.

Research by the event's founder American Express suggests 17.6 million people hit their local high street on 7th December. It's also been estimated that more than £800 million was spent across the UK's 5.8 million small businesses.

The heartbeat of local communities

Small Business Saturday's reputation has been growing every year, in large part due to the awareness it brings of the importance of small businesses to local communities.

It is intentionally scheduled soon after Black Friday and Cyber Monday - shopping events that are largely geared towards larger retailers. Small Business Saturday therefore gives SMEs a chance to enjoy some time in the spotlight.

It's estimated that 4 million more people shopped locally on Small Business Saturday 2019 than in the previous year. And this good news follows the recent headline that there's been a net growth of 200,000 small businesses in the UK since 2018.

The UK's 5.8 million small businesses also employ 17 million people, so their importance to every aspect of local communities can't be underestimated.

High streets in general have faced a real existential threat over the last few years, with online shopping, changing consumer habits and prohibitive parking rules and charges leading to a decrease in footfall. But while the biggest casualties have often been retail chains like Karen Millen and House of Fraser, some experts are suggesting that small, independent retailers are fairing better.

There is little certainty about the future of the UK high street, but there is hope that small businesses could play an important role in keeping them alive and kicking.