It’s clear from this research that there is an opportunity to drive jobs and revenue for European small businesses. However, the research shows that governments and companies need to narrow the gap between the digitally advanced and uncertain, particularly for underrepresented groups. As new digital habits like online shopping and remote working are here to stay even after the pandemic, the research also highlights the risk of some small businesses falling further behind their competitors if they don’t increase their use of digital tools. The barriers those businesses face include being unsure of the return on investment and also a lack of skills and knowledge about digital tools.
This is why new skills are such an important part of economic recovery efforts across Europe. It’s also why we are committed to investing in research like this to inform and build on the tools and training we already provide. Google is joining policy makers, public agencies, training partners and others to develop products and partnerships to help tackle these barriers, like our ZukunftHandel program, in partnership with HDE, the German Retail Association, to help German retail businesses or Ma Vitrine En Ligne, in partnership with the French Federation of Trade Associations, to connect artisans and traders with digital experts for remote support courses, and providing personalized product recommendations for small business owners on our Google for Small Business hub.
By removing these barriers, we can achieve an accelerated, sustainable recovery which works for everyone.
Key stats at a glance:
80% of small businesses increased their use of digital tools during the pandemic
44% had to to adjust their business models
Small businesses with a sophisticated use of digital tools fared nearly twice as better financially (80% better sales; 60% better revenue) during COVID-19, and hired over three times as many people
90% of small businesses were negatively impacted by the pandemic
Digitally advanced small businesses are about 2.5X more likely to be led by someone under 45 years old versus a leader over 45.
Female small business leaders face more than 10% greater revenue challenges than men if they don’t use digital tools, but conversely these tools help women more when deployed successfully