The Small Business Saturday campaign will return on 2nd December, with a mission to help small firms maximise the peak season, as new research finds Christmas will be vital to the fortunes of 86% of small businesses. 

A survey of independent business owners carried out on behalf of Small Business Saturday and American Express, the campaign’s principal supporter, revealed that Christmas is the most profitable period for over two-thirds of small firms, and vital to sustaining finances through the winter and tougher periods.  

As the campaign gears up to return next week, its organiser is calling on the UK’s small businesses to get involved and make the most of the opportunity. 

This comes amid flat economic forecasts, with the research also showing that small firms continue to face a raft of challenges including inflation, which 31% say remains their biggest issue for the next six months.  

Entering its second decade in the UK, Small Business Saturday has a mission to support and celebrate the UK’s 5.5 million small businesses, encouraging people to 'shop local' and back small firms in their communities.  

Greg Rose, co-founder of Maybugs in Sussex, says: “Christmas is such a critical time for us, the six weeks to the big day can generate a huge proportion of our annual profit and sets us on a good footing for the year ahead.  

"The loyal customer base which we have built up over the years is key to having a good festive season, and gently reminding them to shop local and support independents is a huge part of our strategy. Whilst the cost of living crisis will most definitely have an impact, we are trading up on last year and customers are still spending, so overall we are feeling hopeful."

Michelle Ovens CBE, director of Small Business Saturday UK, adds: “As we enter our second decade, Small Business Saturday’s mission to support and celebrate the phenomenal contribution of small businesses across the UK remains just as vital. As things remain challenging out there for business owners, support from the public is absolutely vital, particularly during peak season. I’d encourage all small businesses to get involved and make the most of the spotlight!” 

Small Business Saturday engages millions and has seen billions of pounds spent with small firms on the day. Over the time it has been running in the UK, public support for small businesses has grown, with 77% of small firms believing customers like to support them in the current climate.  

A grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, it was originally founded by American Express in the US in 2010. Small Business Saturday is free and open to all small firms to take part in, with many hosting events, offering promotions, and collaborating with other local businesses. 

Despite the ongoing economic challenges, Small Business Saturday’s data also showed that small businesses remain upbeat, with almost half (45%)  feeling confident about the next six months, and 22% diversifying their operations to respond to hurdles. This includes a rising trend for collaboration amongst local businesses, as 73% team up to navigate economic challenges.