Facebook Publishes New Report on the Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses

By Jon Harrison,

We are all aware that right now we are in the midst of a public health crisis and a time of economic uncertainty. Since the lockdown restrictions came in place in countries across the world that small and medium business’ have taken a hit but now from the State of Small Business Report, by Facebook and Small Business Roundtable, we have a better idea of how big that hit is.

This new report released on May 18th is based on a survey of 86,000 owners, managers and workers across the US with less than 500 employees and what we can see is that of all the sectors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, SMBs look set to be among the hardest hit. While this report is based on a US focus, these figures are going to be quite similar on a global scale.

SME’s generally operate of tight margins and right now these are only getting tighter as we all know therefore your return on investment is more important than ever before as unless companies can recoup their cost there will be a knock on effect on local/national economy, employment and profitability.

So how are these business’ dealing with the impact of the pandemic?


The Facebook Report

The freshly published report from Facebook sheds some light on the situation by incorporating these 86,000 people to provide a range of insights into the current SME sentimement while highlighting  areas of opportunity moving forward. So lets look at some of the key takeaways:

Firstly, The Facebook Report highlights the scale of which business has been affected by the lockdowns since Covid-19, looking at the percentage of SME’s in each sector that have been unable to operate:

Facebook COVID-19 SMB research

Sure many business have been able to change how they operate, whether that’s working from home or doubling down on their online efforts and delivery services. Luckily with a good website, leveraging social advertising and using best practice SEO tips, companies with the right resources can still find opportunities to succeed in these uncertain times.

“According to the survey, 31% of small and medium-sized businesses have shut down [entirely] in the last three months. The situation is worse for personal business (52% of which report shutting down), hotels, cafes and restaurants (43%) and services like wellness, grooming, fitness or other professional services (41%).”

With business’ across all sectors affected by the long-term closures the next main question to consider is how many of these business expect to recover and how can they do it once restrictions are lifted. We know that at this moment in time that’s a difficult question to answer and the longer closures remain in place the harder this gets to answer. Luckily, with restrictions in Ireland beginning to lift, certain businesses starting to reopen and the range of opportunities that are available online, we can make our new normal work for us.

Reasons for Optimism

Facebook SMB report
There are reasons to be optimistic, most business expect to reopen in the near future but of course some are not sure. This provides some hope of getting most people back into employment, and the economy back on track, at some stage. Furthermore in this report Facebook also provides insights into the current impact on revenue, including business that have managed remain open in this period.
Facebook COVID-19 SMB report
As expected growth plans are pretty much out the window when it comes to 2020, but there are some great indicators of future potential for businesses.


Facebook COVID-19 SMB report
More and more businesses are seeing the value and opportunity in online. Simple things like online bookings, online payments and delivery services are not new tools of the trade but they are new to many business and opens their business to a new customer than they had before. We believe this seismic shift towards digital is going to be the biggest long-term affect on business operations post Covid-19 lockdowns. People who have never shopped online before are now doing so and more users than ever have become accustomed to the online process, whether that’s the convenience of to the door delivery, digital payments or just generally being able to find what they want from the comfort of home.

With our experience in the digital sector we are here to help lead companies in their online journey, to see the opportunities change presents while showing the potential for increased reliance on a digital connection with customers and shifting the business model inline with the future of online business.

Just look at this graph that shows how we are seeing eCommerce account for more and more retail sales year over year. A trend which is only speeding up in the current climate.

Statista eCommerce shift
While retail is the focus here and this study is done from Facebook and is therefore a US study, this trend is indicative of an international reality. More businesses are considering what they can do to meet their customer needs and where they need to focus their time and money to capture these customers. In essence, lockdown has forced all business to take an internal look at how they operate and what they can do in the future that will be most beneficial and the answer is online.
Read the full study here or explore how we can help your business grow online with the aid of the Governments latest retail grant scheme.

About the author

Jon is our Inbound & Social Media Marketing Executive specialising in working with our clients to deliver growth through social media advertising. Coming from a sales and content background, Jon has a passion for delivering a high level of customer service with a focus on driving sales and increasing online revenue for our customers.