SMBs stay bullish about their post-Covid futures, particularly within the US

The social network has partnered with the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to survey over 150,000 small businesses worldwide over the past six months and learn more about the effects of Covid-19.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, said in a statement, “Despite one of the most difficult years in recent history, small business executives have demonstrated remarkable resilience and creativity. Many have changed the way they do business and found new ways to survive and thrive online. The road ahead is rocky, but your optimism for the year ahead is inspiring. "

Key global results included:

  • The closure rate for small and medium-sized businesses was 15% in October, compared with 26% in May when surveys were conducted in the first month. However, Facebook, the World Bank and the OECD pointed out that the interest rate has remained constant since August.
  • Since the pandemic began, 31% of women running businesses have spent more time doing household chores than 26% of men, with the largest differences being the US.
  • SMEs that received government aid fell from 23% in May to 12% in October, with the decline particularly noticeable in Europe and North America. Facebook, the World Bank and the OECD wrote, “The econometric analysis suggests that the financial support provided better results for SMEs (especially in terms of retention and the likelihood of closure). However, these programs have also been costly to run, raising doubts about the long-term sustainability of these efforts if governments are unwilling to continue to pay the costs. "
  • A total of 56% of respondents were optimistic or very optimistic about the future of their business, up slightly from 54% in May, but the rate declined in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
  • A rare ray of hope in the pandemic is that more SMEs have learned to use digital technologies to mitigate their efforts. A total of 26% of respondents said in October that they had increased or greatly increased the proportion of sales they made digitally during the course of the pandemic.

Highlights from the USA include:

  • 86% of SMEs stated that they were operational or generating income in October – 82% of SMEs are run by women and 91% by men.
  • 45% of operational SMEs reported lower sales in October than in October 2019.
  • 26% of the SMEs operating in October stated that they had reduced their number of employees and workers due to Covid-19.
  • 39% of SMBs operating in October believe cash flow will continue to be a challenge over the next few months.
  • 45% of SMEs operating in October said that at least 25% of their monthly sales were made digitally, and 30% said the proportion of digital sales was higher than before the pandemic.
  • 68% of SMB owners and managers who were operational in October were optimistic about the future of these companies.

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