small retailers

What does the holiday shopping season hold for small businesses?

By Rieva Lesonsky

If you’re a small retailer, this time of year can be, to paraphrase Dickens, “the best of times and the worst of times.” Why the best? All the top 10 revenue days of the year for small retailers fall between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, according to an analysis from Womply, a small business software company that analyzed a ton of data from last year’s holiday season. The worst? You’re just never sure if consumers will want what you’re selling.

The holiday season study findings are part of Womply’s comprehensive State of Local Retail Report, which uncovered some surprising data:

Black Friday is not just for big retailers. Womply reports it’s also “massive for small retailers—it’s the top revenue day of the year, with local shops seeing a 95% single-day bump in sales compared to the average day, driven by a doubling in transaction volume.”

Cyber Monday also brings in a lot of revenue for small retailers (the 11th best day of the year), which Womply says is surprising since the “small retailers in our study are predominantly single-location, brick-and-mortar shops with little-to-no online presence.”

Sales on Small Business Saturday lag behind Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and 13 other days during the holiday period from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. However, last year daily revenue per retailer was up 27% compared to an average day.

Overall, holiday sales (from November 1-December 31) account for 19% of annual revenue for small retailers, who average $1,775 a day in sales during this period—13% higher than average.

The top three revenue weeks:

  • Best Week: December 17–23—146% higher than average week
  • 2nd Best Week: December 10-16—125% higher than average week
  • 3rd Best Week: November 26-December 2—120% higher than average week

If you’re an online retailer, Volusion, an e-commerce platform built specifically for SMBs, reports your sales will peak the two weeks leading up to Christmas. Online retailers saw an average 23% increase in sales for those two weeks from 2016 to 2017, Volusion’s report says.

As a reminder the National Retail Federation predicts consumers will spend 4.1% more this holiday season than last, leading to a holiday sales increase of 4.3% to 4.8% this year.