Thursday 8 December 2016 8:57 am

Small Business Saturday spending was up 15 per cent this year to £717m

Fans of independent shops, rejoice!

For Small Business Saturday shows no sign of running out of steam just yet. The fourth annual day was the biggest yet – at least according to new figures from American Express.

A survey taken 36 hours following Small Business Saturday on 3 December, found around £717m was spent with small firms across the UK – up 15 per cent on last year. Over 3,600 adults were polled to gauge their spending habits on the day and over half of those aware of Small Business Saturday said they spent more than usual.

The day is a grassroots campaign that aims to spark spending in local, independent businesses across the country. It was founded in the USA in 2010 and came to the UK for the first time in December 2013.

Read more: Here's how London celebrated Small Business Saturday

The participation of local authorities has also risen sharply – over 80 per cent across the country actively supported the campaign on the day itself compared to 53 per cent in 2014. They took part in a variety of ways from staging events to offering free parking.

As for social, over 130,000 tweets were sent on the day with Small Business Saturday trending at number one in the UK.

Michelle Ovens MBE, campaign director of Small Business Saturday, said: "To see the spend on Small Business Saturday reach £249m more this year than on the first Saturday in 2013, an increase of 53 per cent, is fantastic and confirms the positive stories we are hearing from small businesses in communities across the UK."

Read more: Downing St wants to spend £1 in every £3 on small businesses by 2020

Last month, Downing Street announced it had recruited 24 bosses from across the UK to help boost public spending with the UK's small firms. A new panel will help drive the government's target: to get 33 per cent of public spending going on firms with fewer than 250 staff.

In 2015 small businesses took 27 per cent, or £12.1bn, of government expenditure, and now ministers hope to reach £1 in every £3 by 2020.