This holiday shopping season support for patronizing Black-owned businesses lags behind small business initiatives as an alternative to Black Friday shopping on the Internet.
According to Google Trends data, the search term “small business Saturday” has made leads as the most popular search inquiry compared to “Black out Black Friday” in the days leading up to one of the largest shopping days of the year.
Support for a nationwide boycott of large retailers and shopping at Black-owned businesses instead on Black Friday trended on social media with the hashtag #BlackoutBlackFriday in 2014 and 2015.
The social media accounts that once fervently promoted the boycott attempt to protest the shooting deaths of unarmed Black men by police and to support under-patronized Black businesses, have since quieted.
As of 2012, African Americans made up about 13 percent of the U.S. population and owned nearly 2.6 million businesses which make up nine and a half percent of America’s businesses.
In terms of annual sales, Black-owned businesses average about $58,000, while Hispanic-owned businesses generate about two and a half times that amount. Asian-owned businesses average about six times as much and non-minority-owned businesses average over nine times as much, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
American Express has been successful in its push to have the U.S. Senate recognize the Saturday following Thanksgiving as “Small Business Saturday” – a day to encourage shoppers to consider small merchants and retailers during the holiday shopping season.
According to the company, an estimated $14.3 billion went to small businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2014. In 2015 an estimated 95 million people took part in the day and shopped at small businesses across the nation.
“I’m not shopping Black Friday,” said Carl Brown, the executive director of the D.C. Small Business Development Center at Howard University. “I’m shopping Small Business Saturday.”
He said since the shopping holiday extends through the Thanksgiving weekend, shoppers should consider patronizing small businesses the day following Black Friday.
The center provides consulting services, training opportunities and marketing assistance to small business owners. Brown, who assists many minority business owners, said business with the right price and marketing in place should fare well during the holiday season. He noted that a small business focus for the holiday shopping weekend could still translate into big dollars for black-owned businesses.
A majority of black-owned businesses in the U.S. are either sole proprietorships or small businesses.
“Black businesses should be customer service-oriented and friendly,” Brown said.
According to the National Retail Federation, more than 151 million shoppers spent an average of $299.60 in stores or online during the Thanksgiving weekend in 2015.
This year they estimate that more than 22 percent of holiday shoppers will shop at a local business during the holiday season.