Facebook survey reveals pandemics impact on business

The latest survey reveals the impact of the pandemic on restaurant owners and other retailers worldwide.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Facebook released its 2020 Future of Business Survey Monday, detailing the impact of the pandemic on restaurant owners and other retailers around the world.

With the support of the World Bank and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Facebook surveyed 150,000 small business owners over the last six months, starting with Wave I at the end of May and continuing through Wave VI at the end of October.

It’s no surprise that operators of restaurants, hotels and cafes have been hit the hardest by COVID-19.

But the numbers reveal the actual devastation on the sector not only in the U.S., but globally. At the time of the Wave VI survey, 63% of operators reported lower sales relative to the same 30-day period in 2019. In the manufacturing sector, 59% of small businesses reported lower sales compared to 2019 and 58% in transportation and logistics.

Between Waves I and VI, the number of small business owners receiving government help fell from 23% to 12%. The lack of economic support was most noticeable in Europe and North America. In the U.S., limited PPP loans were available back in April but a more widespread restaurant relief package has been stalled in Congress for several months.

Restaurants, hotels and cafes remained the most apprehensive about the coming months, according to the survey. A lack of demand was cited as a continuing challenge by 52% of these small business owners, while 40% mentioned cash flow concerns.

However, with a vaccine in sight, optimism has increased slightly since late May. In the most recent survey, 56% of global respondents said they were optimistic about the future—up from 54% in in Wave I.

“Despite one of the hardest years in recent memory, small business leaders have shown remarkable resilience and creativity,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement. “Many have transformed the way they do business, finding new ways to survive and thrive online.”

The 2020 Future of Business Survey among owners and employees was conducted on the Facebook platform. 


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