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American Express CEO: Small businesses ‘are the lifeline of our economy’

In a new interview with Yahoo Finance's Brian Sozzi, Stephen Squeri American Express CEO, discussed his outlook for small business and the upcoming holiday season

Video Transcript

- What does the state of the consumer look like to you?

- I would agree with-- I would agree with both Brian and Brian, and I'm never going to go against a Queens native with Brian Cornell. So look, the reality is-- what we're seeing, we're seeing as goods and services momentum continue. People have started their holiday shopping. Probably not as early as they did last year due to the fact that Amazon had the Amazon Prime Days really early in October, Apple had a big release.

But our spending index that we look at and our consumer index that we look at, just 48% of our consumers have already started to shop for the holiday season. But yet almost 80% of those people are basically saying they want to wait for Small Business Saturday to support local retailers as well. And I think that's-- I think that's a great thing for the economy because-- and we've invested a tremendous amount. Not only in Small Business Saturday, but in small business shopping. Because as we know, the small businesses are really the lifeline and the lifeblood of our economy. So we're anticipating a very strong holiday season both with online perspective and an offline perspective with people getting out.

The other thing that we're anticipating is-- our research has also said that probably 76% of our customers are going to get out there and travel for the holiday season. Remember, last holiday season nobody traveled. Everybody was at home. And I think now what you'll see is you'll see more people getting out there. And what's really interesting is with the flexibility that is being offered by a number of companies in terms of work from home, you can travel, maybe, off-hours. You can travel at a different-- at your pace. Maybe you can leave a day early and stay a few days later. And so I think this will be helpful to our airline partners. I think it will be helpful to our hotel partners as well for those people that don't have room for their entire family in their house.