Small Business Saturday pulled in sales of £504m spread across thousands of independent retailers across the UK on December 6, beating the half a billion mark predicted by KPMG.
Figures released by the organisers of Small Business Saturday and its corporate backers American Express show a rise in spending of just under 10% on 2013, which delivered £460m for small and medium-sized businesses.
However, sales fell short of the £543m anticipated in separate research by Direct Line for Business.
A turnout of around 16.5m shoppers meant footfall was up 20% on the previous year, aided by efforts to offer free parking by 60 cities and towns.
American Express Research polled 2,473 UK adults in the immediate 24 hours following Small Business Saturday. Almost two-thirds (64%) said they were aware of the day, a jump of 33% on 2013, with 51% of those shopping at an independent store on the day.
Politicians including all three main party leaders were seen to give their support to local traders, while Daisy Lowe modelled clothes in the window of Pennies Vintage shop in London.
Despite attracting backing from large corporations including Barclays, O2 and Notonthehighstreet.com, indies Drapers spoke to prior to the event remained unconvinced of the benefits.
Campaign director of Small Business Saturday in the UK Michelle Ovens said: “Small Business Saturday is now a regular event that shines a light on small businesses throughout the UK in a way that is hugely beneficial to both the local and the national economy.”
Managing director of American Express (UK) Rafa Marquez added: “We are confident [Small Business Saturday] will encourage people to continue their support throughout the rest of the festive season and beyond”.
The event trended at number one on twitter throughout the day, with more than 100,000 tweets sent. Small Business Saturday’s Facebook page received 3.5m visitors.