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Small Business Sales Dropped 19% this Black Friday, According to New Fivestars Data

Small businesses in the Midwest, West and Northeast struggle to regain pre-pandemic traction as Southern merchants show signs of recovery


According to Fivestars, a payments, loyalty and marketing automation platform, small business spending took a hit this holiday weekend despite an increased focus to shop local this Small Business Saturday weekend. Fivestars’ study examines this year’s Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales compared to last year as COVID-19 related challenges continue to impact local commerce. 

Overall, Fivestars’ analysis found that Black Friday sales nationwide were down 19% compared to last year. On Small Business Saturday, sales were down 20%. Across the nation, sales for the full weekend were down 21%. Nearly every vertical, from apparel shops to sporting good stores, struggled to regain traction. Southern states maintained the steadiest foot-traffic for the holiday weekend, yet still took a hit in sales like their Midwestern, Northeastern and Western counterparts.

Most Small Businesses Took a Hit This Black Friday, But Some Niche Retailers Watched Sales Soar 
This Black Friday, niche verticals were able to grab consumers’ attention. Most notably, pet stores and grocers were the few to watch sales soar, at a 30% and 21% increase year over year (YoY). Still, the majority of small business verticals struggled to bring in 2019 sale levels:

Apparel: Friday sales down 6%, total weekend sales down 0% YoY
Beauty & Spa: Friday sales down 35%, total weekend sales down 43% YoY
Bike: Friday sales down 50%, total weekend sales down 80% YoY
Flower & Gift: Friday sales down 21%, total weekend sales down 24% YoY
Food Service: Friday sales down 38%, total weekend sales down 40% YoY
Grocers: Friday sales up 21%, total weekend sales up 15% YoY
Home Goods: Friday sales down 21%, total weekend sales down 19% YoY
Mobile Phone: Friday sales down 38%, total weekend sales down 40%YoY
Pet: Friday sales up 30%, total weekend sales up 18% YoY
Sporting Goods: Friday sales down 25%, total weekend sales down 21% YoY
Tobacco & Vape: Friday sales down 7%, total weekend sales up 1% YoY
Toy: Friday sales down 28%, total weekend sales down 22% YoY

Southern Small Businesses Show Signs of Recovery, With Black Friday Sales Only 2% Lower Than 2019
As the pandemic continues to surge and cause small businesses to shut down, merchants in each state are facing their own unique challenges, like rapidly-changing shelter-in-place orders and physical store restrictions. This holiday weekend, all regions saw a year-over-year decline in sales, some more than others:

  • Midwest: Black Friday sales down 29%, total weekend sales down 22% from this time last year
  • South: Black Friday sales down 2%, total weekend sales down 8% from this time last year
  • West: Black Friday sales down 33%, total weekend sales down 33% from this time last year
  • Northeast: Black Friday sales down 28%, total weekend sales down 22% from this time last year

*See ‘About the Study’ below for regional breakdown 

Looking at the weekend as a whole, small businesses in only four states saw an increase in foot traffic compared to last year: up 13% in North Carolina, up 9% in South Carolina, up 33% in Tennessee and up 2% in Virginia. States that had previously been leading economic recovery, like Florida and Georgia, were down 6% and 4%.

“Many local businesses need to see consumer spend return to pre-COVID levels before the year ends to keep their doors open, so commerce-heavy holidays like Black Friday are very important days for merchants on Main Street,” said Victor Ho, Founder & CEO of Fivestars. “As this runway shortens, we’re encouraging everyone to please shop at your local small businesses throughout the holiday season.” 

To learn more about Fivestars, visit

About the Study
Fivestars analyzed millions of data points from its platform from November 27-29, 2020 compared to November 29 - December 1, 2019, representing sales at over 14,000 merchants nationwide. The study reveals a number of insights into the lingering economic impact of COVID-19 on small businesses this holiday season.

Merchant verticals presented are comprised of the following stores: Apparel (Men’s and Women’s), Beauty & Spa (Salons), Food (Coffee & Tea, Desserts, Juice & Smoothies, Restaurants), Pet Stores, Bike Shop and Services, Books & Comics, Flowers & Gifts, Home Goods, Mobile Phone, Sporting Goods, Toy Stores, Pet Stores, Tobacco and Vape shops.

The report’s regional groupings are as follows. Northeast: Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Rhode Island. South: West Virginia, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, and Alabama. West: Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Washington, Oregon, and New Mexico. Midwest: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Kansas. 

About Fivestars
Fivestars is America’s largest local commerce network. Our mission is to help businesses and communities thrive by turning every transaction into a relationship. We offer a vertically integrated payments, loyalty and marketing automation platform that brings more customers to local businesses. Founded in 2011, Fivestars is backed by Lightspeed, DCM, Menlo Ventures, HarbourVest, Salt Partners, and others. Together, let’s #LoveLocal.
For more information visit:


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