With less than two weeks until Christmas, the peak holiday shopping season is in full effect. As a huge supporter of small businesses all year long, I especially try to shop local and support the businesses that need it most this time of year. As more and more folks have turned to online shopping, I think it's really important to get out onto the streets and give small businesses my bucks.

To throw our support behind SMBs, my e-mail marketing company, VerticalResponse, created a free Everything Holiday marketing resource site to help businesses market themselves and we've written tons of content and hosted webinars on the topic.

Our parent company, Deluxe, creates an annual holiday shopping infographic that illustrates how shopping local is gaining momentum. Some interesting stats I want to share:

  • Over half (57 percent) of respondents decide to shop at boutiques or small businesses because it is important to support local businesses.
  • The 18-34 year old age group is significantly more likely to shop at boutiques because of good prices (31 percent vs. 25 percent).
  • Respondents with a household income over $100,000 are more likely to shop at boutiques for unique merchandise (62 percent vs. 49 percent) and the chance to support a local business (66 percent vs. 57 percent).

Supporting local business is a priority for all groups:

  • A vast majority (95 percent) of respondents strongly agree or agree that it is important to support local businesses.
  • The 35-44 age group is significantly more likely than the general population to strongly agree that supporting local businesses is important (69 percent vs. 60 percent).

Deluxe also found a great way to encourage their employees to shop local this holiday season and support their target market--small businesses--in the town of Stillwater, Minn. They load everyone up on buses and bring them to downtown Stillwater where employees spend the evening shopping and talking to local business owners. They even have a Twitter hashtag (#DLXShopLocal) to follow along.

How has your company supported small business this holiday season? I'd love to hear in the comments.

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