Facebook has published the latest iteration of its State of Small Business report, which measures the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on SMBs, and how the vaccine roll-out is being reflected in sales numbers, employment, and more.
The report incorporates direct responses from over 35,189 small business leaders from across the globe, including 10,262 business leaders from the US, with the most recent survey period covering the 19th of July to the 7th of August.
And given the impacts of SMBs on the broader economy, this is a crucial pulse of where business sentiment is placed, and what you can expect moving forward. You can download the full, 61-page report here, but in this post, we’ll look at some of the key points.
First off, Facebook notes that SMB closure rates have fallen in the latest survey period, which it suggests is an indicator of ongoing recovery, as the vaccine roll-out continues and we look to a post-pandemic resurgence.
As per Facebook:
“Approximately 18% of SMBs reported that they were not operational or engaging in any revenue-generating activities at the time of the survey. This represents a 12 percentage point decrease since May 2020.”
But then again, that makes sense. The businesses that were forced to shut down for good in previous periods are not closing down again, so at some stage, even if things aren’t looking significantly better, the closure rates themselves will improve, simply due to there being fewer businesses to actually close.
That’s also reflected in the sales numbers, with the majority of SMBs reporting worse overall sales performance relative to July 2020 – so in general, even those that have been able to stay open are not seeing strong sales just yet.
Then again, around 28% of operational businesses did report higher sales compared to the same period last year, with European and North American businesses, in particular, seeing a resurgence.
That points to significant recovery in those regions, which comes as a result of broader vaccine take-up, and the re-opening of more regions.
For most nations, the race is now on to reach 80%+ vaccination rates, and reduce the impacts of the virus, as opposed to containing it completely. Overloading the health system with COVID patients has always been the key note of concern, and it seems that more nations are now coming to grips with the fact that the virus is going to exist, and it is going to spread. It then comes down to limiting its impacts, which, at higher vaccination rates, can enable re-opening on a gradually expanding scale.
The report also looks at the ongoing impacts on female and minority-owned businesses specifically, which have been more significantly impacted by the pandemic.
There’s also the digital marketing perspective, with the research showing that more businesses are now using digital tools, particularly for advertising.
Which you can expect to see ramp-up even further as we head into the holiday period, and more businesses see opportunity to boost their outreach to enthusiastic, and increasingly free, shoppers. That could also increase competition for social ad slots, and drive up prices in auctions – worth noting in your planning.
Also worth noting:
“Approximately 69% of SMBs reported that use of digital tools has had at least one positive impact on their business operations, such as an increase in sales or customer base.”
Digital tools are providing more benefit, to more businesses, which will likely spark increased take-up of digital tools as we headed into the recovery period, and see a resurgence in broader economic activity.
There’s a heap more insight in Facebook’s full report, which you can download here, which could provide some valuable insight to help you maximize your marketing efforts.