A ‘Digital Safety Net’ has helped American small businesses during COVID-19. This research report and accompanying materials describe how and to what extent affordable and accessible digital tools have enabled many small businesses to survive and recover from the economic impact of COVID-19 – in some cases, becoming stronger and more agile in the process. Within the report you can find top-line findings, analysis and insights, and recommendations aimed at policymakers, technology companies, and small business leaders.

Presented by

Connected Commerce Council Google

States that index higher for digitally driven SMBs typically project better revenue outcomes

Digital Drivers are the most digitally-savvy, being early adopters and constantly deploying new technologies to drive their businesses forward.

Index Score





74 or less

Digital Adopters, while fully embracing digital tools as important, have not deployed them to nearly the degree that Drivers have.

Index Score





74 or less

Digital Maintainers are generally skeptical of digital transformation and use basic digital tools to maintain their current business.

Index Score





74 or less

Projected Revenue Loss

Projected revenue loss by SMBs in 2020

Index Score

Highest reduction
(-23% to -25%)

19% to -22%

17% to -18%

12% to -16%

Lowest reduction
(5.26% to -11%)

Lead Findings


of SMBs were disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis

There were widespread effects: 43% reduced their hours, 30% saw decreased customer demand, 28% had disrupted supply chains, and 20% laid off employees.


was the average U.S. SMB projected revenue drop for 2020

Not surprisingly, industries that rely more on in-person interaction such as Travel, Entertainment, and Food Services expect even greater revenue decreases of 20-25%.


of SMBs say COVID–19 made them rethink their approach to digital tools

Even among less technologically sophisticated SMBs, many are now using digital tools more, using them in new ways, and experimenting with new tools.

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Goodr | Atlanta, GA

“What we found is that digital tools are the key to any small business. I also know we’d be out of business right now without our digital tools — no question at all.”

Angie White, Beddys, West Jordan, Utah


of SMBs found digital tools more helpful during COVID-19 than before it

Most SMBs (53%) also plan to continue to use more digital tools in their business, even after the pandemic.


of SMBs used one of three digital strategies, with increasing levels of sophistication

“Drivers” (35%) view digital tools as essential and used many pre-COVID-19, while “Maintainers” (24%) take the opposite approach. “Adopters” (33%) see the value but haven’t taken advantage.


better revenue projections from digitally-driven SMBs during COVID-19

The 2020 revenue projections of Driver SMBs are 4X higher than those of Maintainers, linking digital tool use to financial outcomes.

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Pietro NYC

Pietro NYC | New York, NY

“The need for constant digital innovation was there before COVID-19, and today it’s even more critical.”

Azam Mirza, Akorbi, Plano, Texas


of SMBs reported difficulties accessing working capital during COVID–19

Without capital, businesses can’t stay open, much less innovate. And those without incoming revenue or savings had it much harder, typically turning to loans.


of SMBs need more learning or training to increase their digital tool use

In addition, 45% of them view cost and uncertainty about return on investment as additional challenges to adopting them in their businesses.


worse 2020 revenue projections for sole proprietorships vs. larger SMBs

That said, across all business sizes Digital Drivers anticipate better 2020 revenues – use of digital tools may counterbalance disadvantages of an SMB being tiny.

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Studley’s Flower Garden

Studley’s Flower Garden | Rochester, NH

“Without digital tools I don't know how we would have been able to survive or be there for our community during the pandemic.”


Coronavirus Resources

The Connected Commerce Council is working to help small businesses, their employees, and their customers stay safe as we work toward recovery. To find the right tools to use and the resources you need - including the 3C Fund Finder tool - visit our site and our partner pages. We are in this together.

Get more information

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