Christmas is a boom time for all retailers, but now researchers have calculated its exact worth to the small business economy.
Share this article
We all love Christmas, but now small businesses can put a money-figure on just how much they love it: £13.9 billion, according to figures from American Express and The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
The figures are based on activity in December last year and reveal a “significant uplift” in the value of sales during December compared with other months during the year.
The value of December shopping is well-known to retailers and for many it is a do or die month for profit margins.
While the bulk of shoppers head for large retailers like Amazon, Tesco and John Lewis, small businesses can get in on the act by offering a friendly and personal customer service that big multiples can’t match.
Duncan Murray, owner of independent wine merchant Duncan Murray Wines, said: “Christmas is a key time for us in terms of sales; in the ten days prior to Christmas I would say we make around four months’ worth of average monthly sales.
“It’s incredibly busy, yet I make sure my team never compromise their friendly, personal service which I believe is crucial to making the shopping experience a meaningful one.”
American Express is the principle sponsor of Small Business Saturday, which this year took place on 5 December. It was created to encourage more people to shop in independent stores for their Christmas food, gifts and accessories.
The study found that small shops selling ‘other non-food items’, a category including stores selling items like games, jewellery and books, enjoy the biggest slice of festive sales with a 33% or £4.6 billion share.
Food shops took the second biggest chunk of business, with 27% of the total, followed by online and mail-order businesses and household goods.
But the biggest variation in sales compared with other months was in small clothing shops. The research found these took £459 million in December 2014, a 110% increase on their slowest month, February.