The 4th Annual Small Business Holiday Outlook conducted by Constant Contact, found that an unexpected 76% of respondents are planning holiday promotions and last minute offers, that’s up from 62% last year. As things tighten up, business owners are looking for ways to get customers to part with what little discretionary cash they have on hand.
“There’s no question the economy is a cause for concern, especially for U.S. small businesses that rely heavily on holiday sales. However, in true entrepreneurial fashion, small businesses are fighting back,” said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact.
Small businesses use a variety of ways to reach customers. Here are the types of advertising these buisness owners are planning to use…
- Email marketing — 60%
- Direct mail — 27%
- Flyers — 27%
- Advertising on TV, radio, newspaper — 21%
- Online marekting (banner) ads — 20%
- Other — 8%
More businesses plan to start promting earlier than last year, but 41% are unsure if the holiday sales season will be strong or not. This makes sense considering the uncertainty dire predictions we’re facing this holiday season, and the uncertain outlook for the early part of 2009.
According to the survey, small businesses are most concerned about:
- lower holiday sales — 86%
- high energy/fuel costs — 23%
- credit availability — 34%
These worries are show up in the sales projections, plans for hiring (just 16% plan to add seasonal staff this year), as well as plans to reward employees (down 7% from 2007). Holidays parties are as likely as not for small business owners, with just 2% more planning parties this year. These are marked differences versus trends established over the previous three years of the survey.
The 2008 U.S. Small Business Holiday Outlook survey was conducted through online distribution to small business owners who are customers of Constant Contact. More than 2,000 business owners responded to the survey that was conducted from September 23, 2008 through October 10, 2008.
As in the past, small businesses owners may well be leading the way to economic recovery,