Facebook Data Shows 31% of Small Businesses Shut Down During Pandemic

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, says COVID-19 has been “devastating” for small American businesses

New survey data released by Facebook on Monday shows how damaging the coronavirus pandemic has been for small businesses in the U.S., with 31% of small business owners reporting they’ve shut down in the last few months.

The impact has been “devastating” for small businesses, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement accompanying the survey results, with another 11% of small businesses expecting to permanently close their doors in the next three months, if current lockdown measures persist. At the same time, the survey found 57% of small businesses were “optimistic to extremely optimistic about the future of their businesses,” according to the survey.

Facebook teamed up with Small Business Roundtable to conduct the survey, which included 86,000 respondents. The survey considered small businesses as having fewer than 500 employees.

“Nearly a third  [of small businesses] have shut down,” Sandberg noted on Facebook’s blog. “For the smallest businesses – those run by the self-employed or for personal income – the situation is worse. More than half are no longer operating. That is especially bad for women, who run the majority of these businesses.”

Moving forward, these companies face two key challenges, according to the survey: cash and customers. “They’re worried about where money is going to come from, and whether there is still demand for their goods and services. And even when looking to when things are better, less than half of owners and managers said they would rehire their former employees,” Sandberg added.

This is a major concern for Facebook, too, because it’s ad revenue is largely dependent on the spending of small companies.

Facebook’s survey comes as several states move to at least partially reopen businesses. Overall, about 90,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. Nearly 30% of the business owners and employees surveyed said they were concerned about bringing COVID-19 home from work.

The full survey results can be found here.