The pulse of small business: Insights into holiday shopping impact and 2024 priorities
November 20th, 2023, Hoang Nguyen

The pulse of small business: Insights into holiday shopping impact and 2024 priorities

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers have a chance to show their support for small businesses on Small Business Saturday (Nov. 25th).

In a new YouGov Self-serve survey, small business owners across the US provided insights that paint a nuanced picture of the holiday season’s impact on their enterprises and how they see it shaping their business trajectory.

We also look at the areas they’ll focus on in 2024 to help grow their businesses.

How important is the holiday shopping season to small business owners?

For 5% of small business owners, the holiday shopping season stands as a decisive factor in the continuity of their businesses into the following year. These entrepreneurs view this period as pivotal, with the potential to make or break their future sustainability.

An additional 34% acknowledge the importance of the holiday shopping season yet maintain that its outcome will not wield too great an effect on their company’s immediate future. This suggests the holiday season is just one aspect of many small business owners’ broader strategy for the year.

A slim majority (52%) of small business owners surveyed express that the holiday shopping season holds no importance in determining their company’s future. This group seems to be detached from seasonal shopping trends as their ventures may not depend on the end-of-year shopping surge that often defines the commercial landscape at this time of year.

Key focus areas for small business owners in 2024

Looking ahead to 2024, small business owners have a spectrum of priorities that underpin their focus and aspirations for growth.

Expanding or remodeling businesses emerges as the predominant priority, with 27% of small business owners indicating this as their top focus for the next year.

Investing in new technologies, such as customer analytics software, is a top priority for roughly a quarter (23%) of small business owners. This reflects an awareness of the pivotal role technology plays in enhancing operational efficiencies and adapting within the competitive market landscape.

Increasing marketing spend (19%) and expanding staffing (18%) are other key areas of concentration for nearly a fifth of all small business owners.

Improving customer support
follows at 15%, signaling a commitment to nurturing and sustaining relationships with customers. An additional 14% want to find more funding to support their business aspirations in 2024.

Small business owners also point to internal initiatives such as improving employees’ mental health and wellbeing (13%) and focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion (7%) in the workplace.

One of the trending buzzwords for businesses this year was artificial intelligence (AI). Usage of AI has permeated through many aspects of life and businesses and will be a key area of focus for some small business owners. 13% indicate integrating AI tools or capabilities will be a top priority in 2024.


YouGov polled 200 US adults aged 18+ who self-identified as small business owners online between November 16 – 17, 2023. The survey was carried out through YouGov Surveys: Self-serve. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, political affiliation, and ethnicity. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Self-serve.