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2020 Global State of Small Business

The 2020 Global State of Small Business Report, based on The Future of Business Survey, was a research collaboration by Facebook, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank to survey small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) around the world over a six-month period in the context of COVID-19. The aim of these 2020 surveys, together with the associated reports and updates, was to provide a window into SMBs’ experiences amid COVID-19. As we measured the pandemic’s effects on business closures, revenue, employment, and finances, we also gained insight into SMBs’ needs and challenges.

 

Updated insight from the 2021 SMB Survey can be found in the 2021 Global State of Small Business Report.

 

Wave I

The Global State of Small Business Report was based on the first 2020 wave of the Future of Business Survey, which was conducted May 28–31, 2020, and included more than 30,000 SMB owners, managers, and employees in more than 50 countries and regions. The results provided a helpful initial benchmark of the widespread effects of the pandemic, including marked reductions in sales and employment for operational SMBs, as well as disproportionate effects on micro-businesses and female-led SMBs in regard to business closures. The research also provided useful insights into SMBs’ responses to these challenges, access to financial support, and near-term projections.

 

Download the Global State of Small Business Report

 

Wave II

The Global State of Small Business Report: Wave II Update was based on a survey of more than 25,000 owners, managers, and employees in more than 50 countries and regions, conducted June 24–30, 2020. The Wave II update documented a partial return to business as the global economy started to recover from the pandemic, tempered by continuing impacts on SMB sales, employment, and financial constraints. The update also incorporated a deeper-dive analysis of trends in access to financing across countries and regions.

 

Download the Global State of Small Business Report: Wave II Update

 

Wave II Update Insights Summary

 

Wave III

The Global State of Small Business Report: Wave III Update was based on a survey of more than 25,000 owners, managers, and employees in more than 50 countries and regions, conducted July 24–30, 2020. The Wave III update reflected the gradual ongoing resumption of in-person business operations — albeit marked by continued reductions in production and in demand for goods and services — as countries eased lockdown restrictions. The survey showed sustained impacts on SMB sales, employment, and financial constraints. The update also included an analysis of SMBs’ adoption of digital sales and factors that may influence their propensity to move online.

 

Download the Global State of Small Business Report: Wave III Update

 

Wave III Update Insights Summary

 

Wave IV

The Global State of Small Business Report: Wave IV Update was based on a survey of more than 25,000 owners, managers, and employees in more than 50 countries and regions, conducted August 24–31, 2020. The Wave IV update reflected ongoing economic uncertainty, fueled in part by an acceleration of COVID-19 infection rates in many countries and the prospect of the resumption or extension of lockdown restrictions. The survey showed a slowdown in the pace of recovery with regards to trends in closure rates, sales reductions, and employment reductions. The update also included an analysis of the pandemic’s disproportionate effects on female-led businesses as a result of women’s domestic and work-related constraints.

 

Download the Global State of Small Business Report: Wave IV Update

 

Wave IV Update Insights Summary

 

Wave V

The Global State of Small Business Report: Wave V Update was based on a survey of more than 25,000 owners, managers, and employees in approximately 50 countries and regions, conducted September 23–October 1, 2020. The Wave V update reflected persistent and potentially worsening economic conditions for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), particularly as many countries face a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. The survey showed that SMBs continue to face an environment of reduced demand and limited sales opportunities, which has contributed to a drop in employment. The update also included an analysis of the pandemic’s effects on micro-businesses (defined here as those owned and operated by a single individual), which have closed to a greater extent and experienced more severe declines in sales than their larger counterparts.

 

Download the Global State of Small Business Report: Wave V Update

 

Wave V Update Insights Summary

 

Wave VI

The Global State of Small Business Report: Reflections on Six Waves of Data Collection was based on a survey of more than 25,000 owners, managers, and employees in approximately 50 countries and regions, conducted October 23–31, 2020. As the last in a series of six studies monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on SMBs, this report examined the outcomes and key trends observed in recent months in the areas of access to finance, digital engagement, gender differences, and micro-businesses and sought to analyze in further detail both the provision and efficacy of financial support. The report also analyzed SMB owners’ future expectations and assessed the additional support they may require.

 

Download the Global State of Small Business Report: Reflections on Six Waves of Data Collection

 

Reflections on Six Waves of Data Collection Insights Summary

 

 

In recognition that market conditions are continuing to shift, Facebook, the OECD, and the World Bank will continue to update our research and share timely and relevant findings about SMBs’ experiences with COVID-19 around the world.

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