The newest installment of Amex Small Business Trendex: Holiday Editon, a trend report by American Express, which surveyed more than 550 SMBs across the U.S. conducted by The Morning Consult and 275 Gen Z and Millennial consumers, found that two out of three SMBs rely on the holidays as a critical financial time.
This is especially true for the retail sector as 89 percent of respondents noted the season’s importance, versus 66 percent of all SMBs. One of the top overall SMB goals this year is “acquiring new customers.” However, 71 percent of the retail industry reported that “increase sales” was their top priority.
A previous WWD report found in consensus that 75 percent of retail SMBs noted that they rely heavily upon holiday customers, with 73 percent of retail SMBs attributing more than a quarter of their annual sales to holiday shopping.
SMBs have been resourceful and turning to social media to help find and hire seasonal workers, while also reaching new consumers of specific generational cohorts.
Forty-two percent of Generation Z and Millennial SMB owners said they are most likely planning to hire seasonal workers for the holiday season, with 27 percent of Gen Z and Millennials reporting that they will use social media to find and hire seasonal employees.
With more than 75 percent of survey respondents using holiday season marketing efforts, Facebook (82 percent), Instagram (63 percent) and YouTube (48 percent) are the biggest platforms. Moreover, 40 percent of all SMBs said they plan to use social media to target new Gen Z shoppers.
Another tool in the arsenal of younger SMB owners is leveraging artificial intelligence. Twenty-five percent of all survey respondents across all generations said they plan to use artificial intelligence, with 50 percent of Gen Z and 36 percent of Millennials utilizing the technology.
More than 50 percent of top retailers have reported the implementation of generative artificial intelligence this holiday season.
“The final months of the year are especially critical to ensure small businesses meet their revenue goals for the full year,” said Anna Marrs, group president of global commercial services and credit and fraud risk at American Express. “From embracing AI and social media to hire and attract new customers, to using these tools to boost growth, small businesses are finding ways to set themselves up for success.”