By Doug Kelly, American Edge Project CEO

The Superbowl of holiday shopping kicks off this week, featuring two annual traditions that America’s technology companies are helping turbocharge to even greater success. 

The first tradition is Small Business Saturday (November 26, 2022), a day to celebrate and support America’s 33 million small businesses and their tremendous impact on local communities.  

First launched in 2011, Small Business Saturday has become an important part of small businesses’ busiest shopping season. In fact, consumers have spent more than $163 billion on Small Business Saturday since its founding 12 years ago, with a whopping $23.3 billion spent last year by cause-driven consumers at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.

America’s technology companies are critical to both Small Business Saturday and U.S. small businesses overall. Tech platforms help businesses find new customers and markets across the globe, extending their small business reach well beyond their immediate physical geography. Technology also makes it easy and convenient for consumers to shop locally, with 58% of shoppers reporting they made an online purchase on Small Business Saturday in 2021. 

Technology tools provide no- and low-cost advertising, email services, and other business services that have helped create new opportunities for business owners and empowered millions more to launch their own enterprises, helping create jobs, wealth, and new avenues for growth. 

During the pandemic, American technology tools helped countless small businesses survive. In fact, without the digital safety net that U.S. tech companies provided, 11.1 million small businesses (37.1 percent) would have closed all or part of their business. But many of these businesses are still navigating much uncertainty, so they need our support now more than ever. 

The second shopping tradition is Cyber Monday (November 28, 2022), which will see an estimated 64 percent of all consumers – 77 million – making an online purchase on a single day, driving in $12 million per minute at its peak for an estimated $11.2 billion in projected Cyber Monday sales for 2022. Roughly 20 million more will shop in-store.

Not only is this a critical time of year for retailers of all sizes, but it’s especially important for small retailers, who will see as much as a 501% sales increase on Cyber Monday, helping put many of these businesses on the path to profitability for the year, greater certainty in planning for 2023, and possibly even more job creation going forward.

As with Small Business Saturday, America’s technology companies play a critical role in Cyber Monday. Tech platforms provide a wide array of sales options, engaging advertising, free and discounted shipping, easy-to-find product reviews, as well as cybersecurity protections to make sure consumers can shop in a secure environment that protects sensitive data. 

But some lawmakers in Congress are targeting America’s tech companies with onerous new legislation that will hurt America’s small businesses. This would be a terrible mistake. In fact, one study found that if these anti-innovation bills passed, small and medium-sized retail businesses (“SMB Sellers”) would lose roughly $500 billion in sales in just the first five years after passage, amounting to an informal “regulatory tax” on SMB Sellers of 5.2% of their sales, or an average of $1,712 per seller. That’s a painful hit that few small businesses can survive, especially on top of two years of COVID revenue losses and 40-year high inflation over the past year. These short-sighted bills would also make small businesses more reliant on China-controlled technology, putting critical financial and customer data at greater risk. 

Our country’s 33 million small businesses employ 61 million Americans, or 47 percent of all U.S. employees. We all have a stake in their success, so let’s support these businesses by purchasing their products and protecting them from harmful legislation.

Doug Kelly is CEO of the American Edge Project (AEP), a coalition of nearly two dozen organizations dedicated to advancing and protecting American innovation and technology.