Business

Shopping Small – the New ‘Black Friday’ Trend

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.

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Tatyana Hopkins – Washington Informer Contributing Writer

Tatyana Hopkins has always wanted to make the world a better place. Growing up she knew she wanted to be a journalist. To her there were too many issues in the world to pick a career that would force her to just tackle one. The recent Howard University graduate is thankful to have a job and enjoys the thrill she gets from chasing the story, meeting new people and adding new bits of obscure information to her knowledge base. Dubbed with the nickname “Fun Fact” by her friends, Tatyana seems to be full of seemingly “random and useless” facts. Meanwhile, the rising rents in D.C. have driven her to wonder about the length of the adverse possession statute of limitations (15 years?). Despite disliking public speaking, she remembers being scolded for talking in class or for holding up strangers in drawn-out conversations. Her need to understand the world and its various inhabitants frequently lands her in conversations on topics often deemed taboo: politics, religion and money. Tatyana avoided sports in high school she because the thought of a crowd watching her play freaked her out, but found herself studying Arabic, traveling to Egypt and eating a pigeon. She uses social media to scope out meaningful and interesting stories and has been calling attention to fake news on the Internet for years.

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