Small businesses are the heart of our communities – and they are the unsung heroes of the global economy. From coffee shops, bookstores and restaurants to plumbers, wedding planners and graphic designers, small businesses create jobs and growth in every country, helping to reduce poverty and income inequality. But they are facing the challenge of a lifetime. The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t just a public health emergency, it’s also an economic crisis that is hitting small and medium-sized businesses exceptionally hard.
As small businesses begin to re-open, we know they’re facing the challenge of a lifetime. To better understand the scope and impact of the COVID-19 crisis on small businesses, Facebook conducted a global survey of 30,000 small business owners in partnership with World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Overall, the new Global State of Small Business Report shows that while small businesses are optimistic about the future, they still face extreme challenges as they work to recover from the pandemic. To view the report in full, please click here.
Here are the main takeaways from the report:
- The job crisis is far from over: One third of small businesses surveyed reported that they had to reduce their workforce as a result of the pandemic, and 26% of businesses around the world had to entirely shut down their operations from January to May. In some countries, 50% of businesses had to close.
- In the US, 23% of surveyed businesses were not operational.
- Consumer sectors were most impacted: 54% of tourism agencies and 47% of hospitality and event small businesses reported that they were closed.
- Female-led businesses were more affected than male-led businesses: These businesses were 7 percentage points more likely to be closed compared to male-led small businesses at the time of the survey.
- In the US, 71% of women-owned SMBs were operational vs. 83% of men-owned SMBs
- Micro-businesses have been particularly vulnerable: Approximately 30% of micro-businesses reported that they were closed at the time of the survey.
- Entrepreneurs are optimistic and resilient – but urgently need cash and customers to continue operations: Nearly three quarters (74%) of businesses that were closed at the time of the survey expect to reopen as lockdown measures continue to lift. However, 62% of small business operational at the time of the survey cited lower sales in the last 30 days relative to the corresponding period in 2019, 57% of which reported a 50% or more decline in sales
- An average of 23% of SMBs around the world received financial support – the majority in the form of government grants and loans (60%).
- However, many businesses understand the need to pivot to digital -- 50% of operational SMBs reported 25% or more of their sales were made digitally in the past month
- (UK: 56%; Ireland: 65%; Germany: 31%; France: 43%)
Facebook is in the business of small business. More than 160 million businesses use Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or WhatsApp every month to reach customers, sell and grow. They are the heartbeat of Facebook’s community and since the early days of the pandemic we have taken steps to help them weather the storm. That’s why they recently launched Facebook Shops to make it easier to sell online and created their Business Resource Hub [Facebook.com/resource], where they can get training, advice, and information – including from healthcare experts.