Nearly one-third of USA’s small store owners are completely dependent on holiday revenue

Nearly one-third (29%) of U.S. small store owners say that the survival of their business in 2018 will depend on revenue earned during the holiday season. But while the country’s biggest brands and department stores are now locked in a multi-million-dollar holiday marketing battle, over half (56%) of these business owners say they find it difficult to compete with the large retailers at this time of year.

This is according to a recent survey of 500 owners of main street small businesses conducted by Vistaprint, the leading online provider of professional marketing products and services to micro-business owners.

The company surveyed store owners about their holiday marketing, and found that 40% say a bad holiday season will see them struggle over the next 12 months. Despite this, they are only able to spend an average of $560 on marketing their business during this period. On the other hand, major retail chains spent $1.08 billion on advertising alone during the three-week period of November 21st to December 11th last year, according to a report by Kantar Media.

“Our research reveals how crucial the holiday period is to small businesses, so it’s important that we show our support and champion the value they bring,” said Vistaprint CEO, Trynka Shineman. “As well as representing the backbone of our economy, small businesses offer consumers a highly personalized service, a unique product and service selection and the opportunity to give back to their community. We want to help these businesses to stand out and thrive over the holiday period and beyond.”

The survey of small business owners was conducted in November 2017. Other notable findings include:

  • 81% of U.S. small business owners plan on decorating their storefront for the holiday season this year, with an average budget of $347 – 20% will spend just $100 or less
  • Over three-quarters of small business owners (78%) believe decorating their storefront increases the amount of business during the holiday season
  • Besides decorating their physical storefronts, the top marketing activities small business owners will undertake during this period are promotional offers or discounts (64%) and themed social media posts or campaigns (44%)
  • The top two barriers to undertaking marketing and promotional activity throughout this season are: lack of time (30%) and lack of ideas (23%)

Jocelyn Kirouac, who co-owns Brooklyn Artery with her business partner Susan Siegel, adds: “We definitely try to step up our marketing efforts over the holiday season, whether it’s our window display or social media channels. Without a big budget or team behind us, as well as the day-to-day challenges of simply running our business, it can be tough to come up with new or innovative ideas each year. But with a bit of creativity and inspiration you can still make a big impact on a small budget.”

Brooklyn Artery co-owner Jocelyn Kirouac. Picture credit:Windowswear 

Vistaprint is helping to level the playing field for small businesses when it comes to their holiday marketing. One way it did this was by partnering with an expert retail designer, Sally Dailey, to create a guide for small business owners on how to decorate their holiday storefronts on a budget. The company also helped one small business, Brooklyn Artery, create a budget-friendly holiday window display fit for 34th Street.

Notes to editors

Vistaprint surveyed 500 U.S. small business owners nationwide with a physical storefront and no more than 10 employees. The survey was conducted in November 2017.