Seems like most will keep using digital tools in the future
WASHINGTON, D.C. - (KYMA, KECY) - When the COVID-19 pandemic decimated small businesses, the Digital Safety Net of free and low cost digital tools and services helped 11 million small businesses stay open, including many from Arizona.
A new study from the Connected Commerce Council (3C) of 150 small businesses found that 85% believe digital tools are important to operating their business, 87% used more digital tools during the pandemic and 81% plan to continue or expand their digital tools use after the pandemic ends.
"The majority of Arizona small businesses recognize the importance of digital tools and their critical role during the pandemic," shared 3C President Jake Ward. "We are entering a new normal where digital tools are even more important for connecting with customers and selling online. As the economy continues to open, small businesses that embraced the Digital Safety Net as part of their business strategy will be better prepared for the future and the next crisis," added Ward.
3C research also shows a digital skills gap exists between businesses that embraced digital tools early, and aggressively versus those that did not, threatening the future success of those digitally skeptical small businesses.
Digitally Driven: 2021, a nationwide study of more than 2,000 small businesses, found that “Digitally Advanced” businesses which adopted technology before COVID-19, continued to integrate new digital tools during the pandemic. They also saw greater success compared to “Digitally Uncertain” businesses that used fewer tools. Digitally Advanced businesses earned twice as much revenue, and hired twice as many employees during COVID-19 than Digitally Uncertain small businesses.
"The Digital Safety Net saved millions of small businesses and softened the blow for millions more during the pandemic," continued Ward. "Social media, digital advertising, financial and operational management, and online marketplaces all give Digitally Advanced businesses a leg up. As businesses and the economy look toward recovery, we should work to stop Digitally Uncertain businesses from falling further behind and through the Digital Safety Net," said Ward.
Digitally Driven: 2021 also found:
- During COVID-19, advanced businesses had 5 times better retention of existing customers and 20 times better acquisition of new customers compared to uncertain businesses.
- Advanced businesses adopted tools for hiring, training, collaborating and e-commerce at a rate of 14 times higher than uncertain businesses.
- Advanced businesses are more optimistic about the future; as 88% are confident they will be making new hires this year compared to only 36% of uncertain businesses.