January 10, 2024
By Dave Charest
The holidays are big business. That is not going to come as a shock to anybody. But just how important are they to the United States’ economy?
The latest figures from Adobe Analytics show that from November to December 2023, U.S. consumers spent more than $222 billion while shopping online. That activity was largely driven by an increase in total purchases.
Translation: U.S. consumers want to spend during the holiday season. The businesses who can tap into this strong demand are much more likely to achieve their revenue goals and set the table for a strong start to the new year.
Since 99.9 percent of businesses in the U.S. are small businesses, this also illustrates how critical the holiday season is to the continued success and viability of the small- to midsized businesses (SMBs) who power our communities.
At Constant Contact, we wanted to better understand how small businesses tackle this time of year, so we polled 500 SMBs across a variety of industries to get their thoughts. We also asked 500 consumers about how their interest in shopping small changes before, during and after the holiday season.
Here are the stats and trends we uncovered, along with some additional findings from our Small Business Now report that help illustrate what small businesses can do to start 2024 on the right foot.
Small businesses depend on holiday sales to hit their annual goals
However, most shoppers do not realize how vital their holiday spending is to small, local businesses
The holiday season is a great time to attract new customers and, fortunately, shoppers are open to being courted
During the last three months of the year, small businesses see waves of new customers both in-person and online. These shoppers are highly engaged and looking for reasons to visit or buy. This makes the holiday season a terrific time for SMBs to capture people’s attention and grow their customer base.
Most small businesses do not have an effective marketing strategy to nurture, retain and convert their holiday customers in the new year, and it could be holding back their growth
Most SMBs are heavily focused on reaching new customers and growing their lists during the holiday season, but equally important is how those customers are nurtured once the calendar turns to January.
The key to making the most of the holiday season is having a good customer retention strategy in place.
SO, WHAT HAVE we learned?
The holiday season is not just a big deal for small businesses — it is absolutely vital to their success.
Every dollar or sale goes a long way and might make the difference between a good year and a bad one. Since shoppers are looking for excuses to visit and buy from SMBs during the holidays, it is critical that those businesses market themselves and communicate their value.
It is also important to keep marketing once the holidays end.
U.S. consumers showed similar interest in supporting small businesses in the new year as well, and many were turned off after never hearing from a business again after making a purchase.
We see our customers dial up tactics such as loyalty programs, events and contests to activate their audience and turn holiday customers into repeat buyers in the following year.
Dave Charest is director of small business success at Constant Contact, Waltham, MA.