Digital Tools From Harlem To Hollywood Are The Safety Net For Small Businesses, Says Report

May 6, 2021

By Jake Ward, President

We wanted to share with you Digitally Driven: 2021, our latest report on American small businesses and how their use of digital tools has evolved during the pandemic.

This report goes deeper than previous research to understand the real impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and identifies what has driven surviving small businesses’ success and resiliency during the pandemic.

Top findings include:

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  • Nearly all (97%) digitally advanced small businesses adopted new digital tools and business strategies during the pandemic, while only half (51%) of digitally uncertain businesses did.
  • Approximately 11 million small businesses (37%) would have closed all or part of their business without access to digital tools.
  • 82% of advanced businesses credit digital tools with helping them succeed during the pandemic, compared to only 26% of uncertain businesses.
  • Digitally advanced businesses had 5X better customer retention and 20X better acquisition of new customers compared to digitally uncertain businesses.
  • 88% of advanced businesses are more optimistic about the future and are confident they will be making new hires this year, compared to only 36% of uncertain businesses.

The report shows that digitally advanced businesses that adopted technology before COVID-19 continued to integrate new digital tools during the pandemic to find success.

They earned twice as much revenue and hired twice as many employees during the pandemic than their digitally uncertain counterparts.

The success rate between advanced and uncertain businesses is widening, exposing a skills gap that could leave behind small businesses struggling with digital tool adoption.

Understanding how digital tools impacted and transformed small businesses during the pandemic provides an informed framework for how government and industry can make our economy stronger and more resilient in the future.

Policymakers must work hand-in-hand with private industry and educational institutions to make access to digital tools training easier and empower small businesses to succeed.

The Connected Commerce Council thanks our members for their continued support, along with small businesses across the country, for their determination in the face of perilous odds.

I would also like to thank our partners in the production of this report, Google, Greenberg, and Catalyst Research.

I look forward to your feedback and appreciate your ongoing support of 3C and American small businesses.

Jake Ward, President, The Connected Commerce Council (3C) is a non-profit membership organization with a single goal: to promote small businesses’ access to essential digital technologies and tools. 3C provides small businesses with access to the market’s most effective digital tools available, provides coaching to optimize growth and efficiency, and works to cultivate a policy environment that considers and respects the interests of today’s small businesses.

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