The Small Business Role in Spreading Christmas Cheer

By at 21 December, 2017, 8:48 am

by Raymond J. Keating-

Christmas is just about here. It’s a time for celebrating faith, family and friends.

Of course, part of that celebration involves exchanging gifts, and American small businesses play a key role on the gift front. And naturally, for so many industries, the Christmas season accounts for a significant share of annual sales.

According to, for example, Christmas season holiday sales as a share of annual sales last year came in at 28.6 percent of jewelry stores, 23.7 percent for department stores, 22.5 percent for discount stores, 22.5 percent for electronic and mail order retailers, 21.9 percent of sporting goods, book, hobby and music stores, and 21.8 percent of clothing stores.

Keep in mind that retail is dominated by small businesses. For example, according to the latest (2015) Census Bureau data, 97 percent of jewelry store employer firms have fewer than 20 workers, as do 94 percent of clothing stores, 94 percent of sporting goods, book, hobby and music stores, 93 percent of electronic shopping enterprises, and 81 percent of mail-order houses.

The increase in online sales also must be highlighted. As the U.S. Census Bureau noted, electronic shopping and mail-order houses sales in December 2016 were up by 9.8 percent compared to the previous year, reaching their highest level ever.

Finally, the National Retail Federal (NRF) noted that total holiday retail sales, after declining in 2008 and 2009 during the recession, have grown in each subsequent year, including by 5.0 percent in 2014, 3.2 percent in 2015, and 3.6 percent in 2016. NRF projects that holiday sales will increase by 3.6 percent to 4.0 percent this year. puts the Christmas holiday shopping season in perspective: “The holiday season accounts for more sales than Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Easter, and St. Patrick’s Day combined. Total holiday retail sales amounted to approximately 655.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.”

So, during the Christmas season, consumers depend on small businesses to help spread the Christmas cheer, while small businesses rely on those sales to make for a joyous year of sales and profits.


Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Keating’s latest book published by SBE Council is titled Unleashing Small Business Through IP:  The Role of Intellectual Property in Driving Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Investment and it is available free on SBE Council’s website here.

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