Media Information

About Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to 'shop local' and support small businesses in their communities.

The day itself takes place on the first Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses.

On Small Business Saturday, customers across the U.K go out and support all types of small businesses, online, in offices and in stores. Many small businesses take part in the day by hosting events and offering discounts.

Press Releases

Record £1.1bn Spent On UK's Small Business Saturday As Shoppers Seek To Support Local High Street
  • Research reveals that spend on Small Business Saturday hit £1.1bn*, this weekend, the highest ever recorded
  • 48% Brits were inspired to support small businesses on the day because it’s been such a tough year for them
  • #SmallBusinessSaturday was the UK’s top Twitter trend during the day
  • More than 250 small business organisations supported the nationwide initiative, including the CBI, British Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Nation and Be the Business
  • Politicians including the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Mayor of London publicly supported Small Business Saturday

Spend on Small Business Saturday hit £1.1 billion this year*, exceeding the billion pound mark for the first time ever as shoppers showed support for their local high streets.

The UK’s eighth annual Small Business Saturday, which took place on 5 December 2020, saw 15.4 million people hitting the high street and shopping small, according to research* commissioned by founder and principal supporter American Express. This represented a 2.2 million decline in footfall compared to last year, but the average per person spend rose from £45.42 in 2019 to £70.74 in 2020, a 56% increase.

Shoppers who took to the high street demonstrated a real sense of community spirit, with 48% stating that they chose to spend money with small businesses as they wanted to support them as much as possible after a tough year.

The campaign was supported by political figures across the country including the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, leader of the opposition Keir Starmer, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and a host of members of parliament who visited small businesses to support the campaign in person, or virtually.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visited retailers on London’s Oxford Street to show support for the campaign, which encourages people to 'shop small’ and support businesses in their communities.

Small Business Saturday also drew high engagement on social media, with #SmallBusinessSaturday trending throughout the day.

Michelle Ovens MBE, Director of Small Business Saturday, said:

“It is fantastic to see such phenomenal, record-breaking support for small businesses, in one of the toughest years many have ever experienced. Small Business Saturday has been running for eight years, but this year’s campaign has been our most vital. We are delighted that it’s generated such a massive boost for small businesses, at a time they are facing huge challenges with the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

“I have no doubt that this strong support for small businesses has been driven by recognition of the critical role they played in our communities during lockdown. So many firms worked hard to pivot and adapt their businesses during this national emergency, often stepping in to offer useful services, vital products, as well as being a source of practical support and kindness, particularly for the NHS and frontline workers.

“While there is light at the end of the tunnel for 2021, with a vaccine, this winter is still going to be tough for many small businesses and it’s so important that we all continue to support them. This year Small Business Saturday is not just about one day, but all of the small actions that individuals can do across the winter to add up to one big impact.”

Charlotte Duerden, Managing Director UK, American Express, said:

“Small businesses play such a vital role in their local communities and need our support more than ever. So, it’s truly good news that we’ve seen the biggest ever boost to spending with local independents this Small Business Saturday. What’s even more encouraging is that this commitment to shopping small looks set to continue, not just this month, but for the longer term.”

A grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, Small Business Saturday was originally founded by American Express in the U.S. in 2010. American Express remains the principal supporter of the campaign in the UK, as part of its ongoing commitment to encourage consumers to shop small. American Express is incentivising Cardmembers to support their local small shops with its Shop Small offer. From 5 to 20 December 2020, Cardmembers will receive a £5 statement credit when they spend £10 or more in-store at participating small businesses. The offer is valid for use up to 10 times, once per participating location, which means shoppers can earn a total of £50 in statement credits.**


*About – American Express Research:

3,701 UK adults were polled by Toluna between 5pm on Saturday 5 December 2020 and 11am on Monday 7 December 2020.

£1.1 billion figure for national spending calculated using ONS estimation of the UK adult population.



** Shop Small Offer only available to UK issued American Express Cards with the exclusion of Corporate Cards and Pre-Paid Cards, enrolment required, available in-store, participating merchants only, once per location, up to £50 back per Card.

Public Can Make Big Difference On Small Business Saturday

Brits are being called upon to offer vital support to small businesses as high streets reopen in time for Christmas.

The annual Small Business Saturday campaign - which takes place on 5 December and encourages people to support small firms and 'shop local' – is well timed, coming just three days after the English national lockdown lifts.

It also hopes to tap into soaring public affection for small businesses, as research from the campaign and its principal supporter American Express shows 59 per cent of Brits support small businesses more than previously, following the major role firms played in communities during coronavirus lockdowns.

“Small Business Saturday is not just one event, but millions of actions, taken by all of us, that add up to one big impact to boost small businesses at this difficult time,” said Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday UK.

“More than ever, it is a key moment to shine a spotlight on small businesses and the important contribution they make to our nation.”

“This year, we are encouraging people to show their support not just on Small Business Saturday itself but in the coming weeks, months and beyond, in all the different ways they can safely.”

In its eighth year Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, with last year's campaign seeing an estimated £800m spent with small businesses across the UK.

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said:

“Now more than ever it is vital that people get behind their local businesses, whether by popping in to get Christmas presents, ordering essentials online, or getting a takeaway from their favourite cafe or restaurant.

“Small businesses are the beating heart of our local communities, and this year we want Small Business Saturday to give them the boost they need to carry them into the New Year, as we look to build back better from Coronavirus.”

Top Tips To Help Small Businesses Through Winter

As Britain’s high streets prepare to return to life in time for Christmas, small business owners have been given tips for coping with a still uncertain winter.

This year’s Small Business Saturday - an annual celebration that encourages consumers to 'shop local' - couldn't be better timed, with December 5th falling three days after the English national lockdown lifts.

Organisers have matched firms with experienced business mentors and provided free virtual workshops and live-streamed advice, focused on key tools to handle the impact of the pandemic, such as embracing online, diversifying, managing cash-flow and improving mindset and mental health.

“Small businesses are facing a really hard winter, and many don’t have much to fall back on,” said Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday UK.
“They need as much support as possible to power through, which is why we’ve teamed up with BT Skills for Tomorrow to offer virtual mentoring, workshops and advice to small businesses in the run up to Small Business Saturday.

“This year’s campaign is more vital than ever, and we’re encouraging all small business to join in and for the public to get behind them like never before.”
Now in its eighth year, Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, which takes place in the run-up to Christmas.

Its nationwide virtual tour has been running for over three weeks, with a local focus on over 30 UK towns, everywhere from Edinburgh, to York to Belfast, with final ‘stops’ set to include Southampton, Brighton, Guildford and London over the coming weeks.

And the campaign has issued a list of five top tips for small business owners, struggling after national and localised lockdowns have kept many customers at home.

  1. Embrace new technology - Even if your business used to be completely face-to-face there are digital alternatives that could help you continue during lockdown. Spend some time learning new digital skills and adopting the right tools to help you reach customers through new channels.
  2. Keep in touch with your customers - update them on how your business is adapting and new things you are offering. If you have had to close or pause operations, make sure you stay in touch and stay relevant.
  3. Protect your cashflow - review all your outgoings and focus on keeping costs as low and flexible as possible, with a limited number of big outgoings. Keep in touch with your suppliers to see how you might manage payments.
  4. Continue to diversify - keep pivoting your business model to continue trading, as the world carries on changing. Don’t rely on one product or market, think about alternative services you could offer that have not been hit by Covid-19 or have thrived during lockdown.
  5. Make the most of Small Business Saturday - taking place on December 5th, this nationwide campaign encourages people to celebrate and support small businesses and to shop local on the day itself, as well as the run-up and beyond. All small businesses can participate, by running promotions, getting listed on the Small Business Finder and downloading marketing materials via its website.
Lockdown Boosts Nation's Love For Small Businesses

Coronavirus lockdowns have boosted the nation’s love for UK small businesses, with 59 per cent of Brits saying they now support local businesses more than previously.

Research, commissioned by American Express and Small Business Saturday UK, underscores the huge role small firms have played in supporting their communities through lockdown, with many pivoting to offer people new products and services such as deliveries, takeaways and virtual consultations

This has led to a big rise in public support, with more than a third of people also saying they’ll continue their backing in the same way as they did before Covid-19, despite the recession.

This surge in affection will be vital for Small Business Saturday, which takes place on December 5. A grassroots, non-commercial campaign, it celebrates small business success and encourages consumers to 'shop local’ to support their communities.

“This crisis has brought home just how much small firms are at the heart of our communities," said Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday.

“They have been there for customers and shown strength, determination and agility in coping. It’s no wonder that support for Britain’s small businesses is rocketing. It’s vital we continue to support small businesses as this crisis continues, which is why we are determined to make this year’s campaign the most impactful ever.”

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Bob and Vanessa McCulloch, the owners of Tom Foolery Coffee Company in Shoreham-by-Sea, are just two of thousands of small business owners who have seen strong community support.

An example of small business ingenuity is Bob and Vanessa McCulloch, the owners of Tom Foolery Coffee Company in Shoreham-by-Sea

Left reeling by lockdown, they wasted no time in adapting and building a new takeaway counter at the front of their store and a new retail product line, which has proved popular locally.

“Covid-19 has been tough for our business, but support from our community has been amazing. People have been very appreciative of the changes we have made and got behind us," said Vanessa McCulloch.

Now in its eighth year in the UK, Small Business Saturday has grown significantly each year with an estimated £800m spent in small businesses across the UK on the day last year, with a record turnout of 17.6 million people choosing to shop local that day alone.

Small Business Saturday was originally founded by American Express in the US in 2010, which remainsthe principal supporter of the campaign in the UK, as part of its avid championing of the UK high street and commitment to encourage consumers to shop small.

“Our local communities are richer and more vibrant for the presence of these independents and people across the UK are behind them like never before," said American Express' General Manager UK, Global Merchant and Network Services, Dan Edelman.

"It’s so important that we all continue to support our favourite local small businesses and we’re proud to play our part as principal supporter of Small Business Saturday and through our own Shop Small campaign”.

In the run up to Small Business Saturday UK, the campaign will kick off an online tour in November virtually visiting more than 33 towns and cities across the UK.

Boost For Small Biz As Major New Support Tour Launches

Small Business Saturday launches UK's first virtual roadshow to support small businesses

Small businesses across the UK are being offered a major new package of support and mentoring, as Small Business Saturday UK launches the UK's first online roadshow for towns and cities affected by the pandemic.

Launching on 2 November 2020 with daily ‘virtual visits' to small businesses and communities in over thirty locations across the U.K., Small Business Saturday UK will offer an ambitious, vibrant and intensive programme of locally targeted online advice, workshops and mentoring.

With the aim to support, encourage and uplift small businesses across the country facing the challenge of a second wave of Covid-19 restrictions, the virtual tour will form a central part of the official countdown to Small Business Saturday on 5 December.

Now in its eighth year in the UK, Small Business Saturday celebrates small business success and encourages consumers to 'shop local' and support businesses in their communities.

Kicking off in Scotland with a focus on Inverness, the tour will ‘zoom into' locations across the country each weekday; reaching everywhere from city centres like Edinburgh, Manchester, London and Cardiff, to rural communities such as Pateley Bridge in the Yorkshire Dales and Bodmin in Cornwall.

Due to the pandemic, this year's online roadshow will temporarily replace the iconic Small Business Saturday UK bus tour which has been running since the campaign began.

"This year has been incredibly tough for small businesses – financially, operationally, mentally and emotionally. This means our mission to support and celebrate small businesses across the UK becomes even more vital and ambitious", said Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday UK

"While we're obviously sad not to be visiting small businesses on the ground, we are excited to use online to reach more people than ever, and bring small businesses and their communities a tremendously useful package of support. This is all part of our promise to make this year's Small Business Saturday the best and most important one yet."

The online roadshow will include free virtual mentoring advice on a range of topics, from digital marketing, to time and money management. Live interviews and workshops with local businesses, experts, dignitaries and supporters of the campaign will also be streamed via Small Business Saturday UK's Facebook page, along with a fun-filled daily ‘Happy Hour' giveaway broadcast.

Peter Oliver, MD SME for BT's Enterprise unit, the official supporter of the Small Business Saturday bus-tour said:

"Despite this year being phenomenally tough for small businesses across the UK, we have seen many businesses embrace the benefits that being more digital can bring; for them, their employees and their customers. To make that leap, they need support and encouragement. The Tour 2020 is another great initiative from the Small Business Saturday team and we're delighted to be involved. We all have a role to play in helping our small business community and we look forward to offering mentoring support and helping them to develop their digital skills through our BT Skills for Tomorrow programme."

Small businesses can book virtual one-to-one mentoring sessions with local experts via the My Small Business Section on the Small Business Saturday website.

A grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, Small Business Saturday was originally founded by American Express in the U.S. in 2010. American Express remains the principal supporter of the campaign in the UK, as part of its avid championing of the UK high street and commitment to encourage consumers to shop small.

100 UK Small Biz Given Limelight Boost

Small Business Saturday launches its official countdown by profiling 100 UK Small Biz

One hundred of the UK's most inspiring small businesses have been chosen to mark the official countdown to Small Business Saturday, which takes place across the UK on 5 December 2020.

Coming at an incredibly tough time for many small firms, with the impact of the pandemic and recession, the 2020 Small Biz 100 will profile some of the UK's best small businesses in the 100 days build up to Small Business Saturday, as part of its mission to support and celebrate British small businesses.

The Small Biz 100 count-down kicks off with independent restaurant Chukus in Tottenham, run by brother and sister duo Emeka and Ifeyinwa Frederick, whose passion for bringing great Nigerian tapas to London has inspired a loyal following and community crowdfunding.

The campaign will go on to showcase a daily celebration of the Small Biz 100 through social media. This year's campaign includes a diverse and vibrant range of independent businesses spanning the nation - including a family run florist in Bristol, a beauty salon in Inverness, a virtual PA in Northern Ireland and a wine school in Chester.

Michelle Ovens MBE, Director of Small Business Saturday UK, said:

"This year's Small Business Saturday is going to be the most important one yet, given the phenomenally tough time small businesses have had with the double whammy of Covid-19 and now a recession. Throughout the crisis the UK has been reminded about what a special and important role small firm's play in communities across the UK. The launch of the fabulous Small Biz 100 highlights the amazing, positive impact these firms have. It's vital we continue to support small businesses as this crisis continues and we're determined to make the 2020 Small Business Saturday bigger and better than ever."

This year's cohort joins hundreds of previous Small Biz 100 alumni champions, which have been celebrated by the iconic campaign since its UK launch in 2013.

Emeka Frederick, Co-Founder of Chukus restaurant in Tottenham said:

"We are excited to be joining the Small Biz 100. As a small business whose mission is centered around building community and sharing joy, it feels very apt to be part of this positive and uplifting campaign. And in the midst of a challenging business environment, it's great to have something celebrate!"

On Small Business Saturday, customers across the UK go out and support all types of small businesses, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Many small businesses take an active role in promoting the day by hosting events and offering discounts.

The day itself takes place on the first Saturday in December each year, but with an impact that lasts all year round.

A grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, Small Business Saturday was originally founded by American Express in the U.S. in 2010. American Express remains the principal supporter of the campaign in the UK, as part of its avid championing of the UK high street and commitment to encourage consumers to shop small.

Dan Edelman, General Manager UK, Global Merchant and Network Services, American Express said:

"Each and every one of the businesses featured in the Small Biz 100 have a truly inspiring story to tell and this spotlight on them has never been more important or more needed. Our local communities are richer and more vibrant for the presence of these independents and we're honoured to play our part supporting them through our Shop Small campaign and as principal supporter of Small Business Saturday."

Now in its eighth year in the UK, the campaign has grown significantly each year with an estimated £800m spent in small businesses across the UK on 2019's Small Business Saturday, and a record turnout of 17.6 million people choosing to shop small on the day.

The #SmallBizSatUK campaign trended at number one in the UK on Twitter during 2019, with the Prime Minister, leader of the opposition and the Mayor of London among those publicly supporting the campaign. Over 90% of local councils also supported the campaign.

Small Business Saturday 2020 is open to all small businesses to participate in and will commence its regional bus tour roadshow during the autumn, to offer support and mentoring for small businesses in towns and cities across the UK.