Column: Small businesses may keep struggling during holidays

Destiny Blanchard

We’ve entered the time of year when Americans spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on gifts for the holiday season. Due to the continuing pandemic, many people have turned to online shopping to get their goods early on.

Although some still went out on Black Friday, a lot of people spent their money online trying to get the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. The result of this was the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history with consumers spending over $10 billion on Cyber Monday.

Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday also had a big turnout with $5 billion, $9 billion, and $4.7 billion in sales respectively. Even with record-breaking online sales last weekend, there was a dip in overall spending compared to last holiday season because so many people chose to shop online.

Overall about 186 million people purchased something online or in stores from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday compared to the 190 million people one year ago. Shoppers on average spent about 14% less than they did in 2019.

This could mean a tough holiday season for retailers and small businesses that aren’t adapted well for online sales or adjusted versions of in-person shopping. Many of the large retailers offer curbside pickup, mobile apps for easier shopping, and updated websites that make them more desirable and safe options for consumers to shop at.

Because of the pandemic, the divide in sales between some of the largest retailers and the smallest of businesses has become wider. Amazon saw the biggest amount of holiday spending on their website in their entire 26-year history this past week.

More small businesses will likely continue to temporarily or permanently close without the foot traffic they are used to at this time of year. For many small business owners and those without the money to spend on gifts, this Christmas could be bleak.

I think this uncovers a greater issue that small businesses have faced during this pandemic. This issue is that the only way to survive under the stresses of the global pandemic or any national issue that affects the economy is to be part of a company or industry that has millions to billions of dollars on reserve.

Without millions worth of resources on hand or help from the government, all small businesses can do is watch as the sales gaps continue to widen.

 

Destiny Blanchard is a junior management major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]