Nearly 2 million more people than last year are expected to shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year even as consumers have continued the trend of starting their holiday shopping earlier in the year, according to the annual survey released Nov. 17 by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“We’re expecting another record-breaking holiday season this year and Thanksgiving weekend will play a major role as it always has,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Nonetheless, consumers are starting earlier than ever to be sure they can get what they want, when they want it, at a price they want to pay. Black Friday stopped being a one-day event years ago, and this year some consumers started shopping for Christmas as early as Halloween. NRF is encouraging consumers to shop safe and shop early, but retailers are confident they have enough inventory on hand to meet holiday demand.”

Fully two-thirds (66%) of holiday shoppers surveyed in early November plan to shop Thanksgiving weekend this year. That amounts to an estimated 158.3 million people, up from 156.6 million last year but still below the 165.3 million in pre-pandemic 2019. The survey found 30.6 million plan to shop either in-store or online on Thanksgiving Day, 108 million on Black Friday, 58.1 million on Small Business Saturday, 31.2 million on Sunday and 62.8 million on Cyber Monday.

Nov. 27 is Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses and communities across the country. Founded by American Express in 2010, this day is celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Since it started in 2010, consumers have reported spending nearly $140 billion across all Small Business Saturdays combined.

“Excitement is building among consumers and small businesses ahead of the holidays, with 63% of small business owners surveyed reporting that they are preparing for a bigger holiday shopping season than last year despite supply chain shortages and other challenges due to the pandemic,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, chief marketing officer at American Express. “We’re rallying consumers to help deliver a strong holiday season for small businesses in communities across the country. It’s so important to support our favorite small businesses not only on Small Business Saturday but throughout the holiday season and all year long.”

You might not realize it, but every time you take a yoga class at the neighborhood gym or buy a painting from the local artist down the street, you’re shopping small and making a difference.

Comptroller Peter Franchot recently penned a guest commentary urging Marylanders to “Shop Maryland and Save for the Holidays.”

“In fact, I am personally challenging everyone to commit to purchasing at least 50% of their holiday gifts from locally owned businesses. I personally plan to buy 100% locally,” Franchot wrote. “Coupled with the ongoing issues with America’s supply chain, there has never been a better time to grab that gift from the shelves of your local retailer while you can.”

By shopping at local businesses, you also support the more than half a million Marylanders employed in our state’s retail sector.

For every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community, according the the 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study. So when you Shop Small on Small Business Saturday — and all year long — it can help add up to a big impact.

According to the American Express Shop Small Impact survey, more than half of small businesses surveyed agreed this year’s Small Business Saturday is more critical than ever for their business and 78% said holiday sales will impact their ability to keep their doors open in 2022. So, when doing your holiday shopping, remember to Shop Small and Shop Local.

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