More consumers “shopped small” on Saturday, but spent less money on average than a year ago, according to the results from the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, released today by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express.

Survey results indicate 88 million consumers shopped small on the fifth annual Small Business Saturday, up 14.9 percent from just a year ago, but spent $162, or 11.5 percent less than a year ago. Though average spending was down, overall spending was boosted by strong awareness and the sheer volume of shoppers supporting their local businesses on the day.

With more than two-thirds of the U.S. population aware of Small Business Saturday (67%) and more people shopping, U.S. consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday reported spending $14.3 billion* with independent retailers and restaurants on the day, an increase of 2.1 percent from $14 billion in 2013.

More Americans recognize the direct link between shopping locally and stronger communities and thats an extremely positive result, said NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner. Were delighted by the success of Small Business Saturday but were even more excited by the growing commitment among Americans to give small businesses a chance to compete all year round.

Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 in response to small business owners most pressing need: more customers.

Once again, Small Business Saturday proved to be a bright spot over the first official holiday shopping weekend, said Denise Pickett, President, American Express OPEN. Small businesses are critical to the stability of our local communities and growth of our national economy. We are confident that the broad national support for these businesses will continue well beyond November 29th.

This year’s highlights include:

  • Nearly 3,000 Neighborhood Champions around the country rallied local businesses and created events and activities in their communities.
  • Premier partners, FedEx, Eventbrite, Microsoft and Yelp worked with American Express to promote shopping at small businesses for Small Business Saturday.
  • In addition, 446 companies signed up to become official supporters of the day.
  • 386 advocacy organizations signed up to support the nationwide initiative.
  • More than 610,000 free online tools and materials were accessed by small business owners on to help get the word out about Small Business Saturday.
  • On Nov 29 alone, more than 126,000 tweets were sent in support of the initiative, many using the hashtags #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall, a 10% increase from the previous year; those Tweets ranged from consumers spreading the word about the national initiative to business owners promoting offers that they created specifically for the day.

About the survey
The Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 2,682 males and females 18 years of age or older. The sample was collected using an email invitation and an online survey. The study was conducted anonymously by independent marketing performance specialist Ebiquity on November 30, 2014. The survey has an overall margin of error of +/- 1.9%, at the 95% level of confidence.