NEW DELHI: A Meta (formerly Facebook) survey of small- and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders in India has revealed that 23 per cent of SMBs remain closed as the Covid-19 pandemic wanes, and the greatest challenge SMBs are facing now is the current state of the economy, including rising inflation.
The proportion of SMBs that are closed was 33 per cent in January this year in India, compared to July 2022 when it was 23 per cent.
When it comes to employment in India, 19 per cent said there has been a decrease in employment while 26 per cent said there has been an increase in job opportunities.
Meta's 'Global State of Small Business Report' found that 19 per cent of small businesses remain closed globally -- a 1 per cent improvement compared to January this year. "The highest closure rates were in North Africa and the Middle East, where 33 per cent of SMBs were closed.
The lowest closure rate was in North America, where 18 per cent of SMBs were closed," the report mentioned. As a result of these headwinds, nearly a quarter of SMBs (24 per cent) reported increasing their prices by 20 per cent or more in the past six months.
Amid the challenges, small businesses have continued to innovate and adapt to economic hardship by using digital tools as 51 per cent of SMBs said they use digital tools to communicate directly with customers.
They also use digital tools for other business activities as 43 per cent use them to advertise and 36 per cent use them to sell goods and services.
"Digital tools have played an outsized role in generating sales for diverse-owned businesses in particular, which is critical as the report has historically revealed these communities have faced higher closure rates," said Meta.
For example, small businesses led by women used digital tools at higher rates and generated more online sales revenue than small businesses led by men. Meta said that it is continuing to build new technologies and functionality to make it easier for the more than 200 million businesses using its platforms to reach their customers and grow.