FILIPINO-OWNED small businesses have adapted to the pandemic by building their digital capabilities, a Facebook Philippines study revealed.
According to the 2021 Global State of Small Business Report, among the challenges that Philippine-based small and medium businesses (SMBs) cited were declining sales, high rates of closures and employee downsizing.
Around 1,000 SMBs were part of the survey.
Forty-four percent of operational SMBs on Facebook reported that their sales in January 2021 were lower compared to the same period in 2020, prior to the pandemic.
While many SMBs expect the challenges to continue within the year, 34 percent of operational Filipino SMBs on Facebook said they are confident in their ability to continue operating for at least six months, if the current situation persists.
“Small businesses play an important role in pandemic recovery. At Facebook, we remain focused on providing small businesses with resources and tools, so that they could continue to reach and engage their customers, and hopefully accelerate business recovery,” Akshat Jain, country lead in growth business of Facebook Philippines, said.
Jain said small businesses will be the key engine of economic recovery for the pandemic.
In the Philippines, SMBs appeared to be exceptionally impacted, with both high rates of employment reductions and among businesses that reduced employment, high rates reporting they laid off all their employees.
Twenty-seven percent of the country’s SMBs reported they were closed in February 2021 while 56 percent of operational SMBs reported they reduced the number of employees/workers as a result of the pandemic.
Shift to digital
But in terms of growth, more than 60 percent of global and USbased SMBs have made at least one change in the way they do business.
More than 55 percent of global SMBs also reported using digital tools to communicate with customers.
Meanwhile, according to the recently released Emerging Trends Research commissioned by Facebook, convenience and more brand engagement are the biggest considerations among Filipinos when exploring products or services to buy online.
The study which surveyed 12,500 people across 14 countries including the Philippines looked at the changes in consumer behavior over the past year.
Among the Philippine-based respondents, 93 percent said they highly consider convenience alongside price when deciding what to buy online.
Relatedly, 87 percent of the respondents said they are willing to spend more for ease of access to the product or service.
Even preference for payment modes and where to shop are largely fueled by convenience with 90 percent of respondents saying mobile payments should be more widely available.
Moreover, with the marketplace shifting to digital due to the physical limitations brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, 92 percent of respondents said social media have made life more convenient. (JOB)