Facebook: Digital Sales Can Mitigate Pandemic’s Negative Effects On SMBs

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Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can help lessen the negative effects of COVID-19 on their firms by selling more through digital channels, according to the results of Facebook‘s Global State of Small Business Report: Wave III Update.

More than 40 percent of SMBs made over a quarter of their sales through digital channels in a majority of regions at the time of Wave III of the 2020 Future of Business Survey, which was fielded July 24-30.

“Businesses that made over 25 percent of their sales online were less likely to report lower sales compared to the same 30-day period last year and more likely to report an increase in sales, relative to those with a limited digital presence,” according to the report.

In fact, 18 percent of companies that made in excess of a quarter of their sales via digital channels registered a rise in sales compared to the same 30-day period last year.

The survey also found that the proportion of SMBs that were closed in aggregate dropped two percentage points between Wave II and Wave III to 16 percent. It determined that the closure rate for consumer-facing industries like eateries, cafes and lodging facilities dropped from 19 percent in Wave II to 15 percent in Wave III.

Additionally, the survey determined that a number of closed businesses were creating an online presence. One quarter – or 25 percent – of closed businesses indicated that they were creating a website or digital presence throughout all three survey waves.

The Wave III update contained the perspective of more than 25,000 business owners, workers and supervisors in more than 50 nations.

PYMNTS data collected on almost 500 Main Street SMB respondents from across the nation between Aug. 6 and Aug. 10 indicates that operators have greater optimism regarding chances of survival than they did in the spring. That greater confidence comes despite the fact that COVID-19 is lasting much longer than expected.

“Fifty-four percent of all SMBs now say they feel confident they will be able to stay open through the end of the pandemic, yet just 42 percent felt the same in March,” according to the new study.

However, 75 percent of companies on Main Street say they are still grappling with decreased sales stemming from the pandemic, while many have had to take further palliative steps to keep their cash flow on an even keel.

More than four in 10 – or 41.9 percent – of Main Street SMBs have had to cut payroll, and 26.1 percent have needed to apply for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.

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