Put down the turkey and gather the newspaper -- Black Friday, the unofficial U.S. national holiday, is upon us.
Yes, it's that time of year when big box retailers start slashing prices and leaking sales promotions in hopes of capturing consumers' dollars, and it's working. According to the National Retail Federation, in 2012 Black Friday sales hit an all-time high of $59.1 billion, an increase of over 13 percent from 2011. In addition, 2012 Cyber Monday sales increased by 17 percent to $1.5 billion.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the bookends of this shopping frenzy weekend and right in the middle is Small Business Saturday. SBS was first observed in 2010 and is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. SBS encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.
In 2011, American Express started working to develop marketing materials and campaigns to help support the cause. Like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the marketing efforts are working, with SBS efforts reporting $5.5 billion in sales for 2012.
If you're a small business owner, consumers are ready to embrace the shop local movement and here's the proof: Ogilvy & Mather, one of the world's largest advertising firms, conducted a post-recession survey asking consumers how their buying behaviors have changed as a result of the recession. Here are some of results: