Facebook has published the latest iteration of its State of Small Business report, which measures the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on SMBs, and how the vaccine roll-out is being reflected in sales numbers, employment, and more.

The report incorporates direct responses from over 35,189 small business leaders from across the globe, including 10,262 business leaders from the US, with the most recent survey period covering the 19th of July to the 7th of August.

And given the impacts of SMBs on the broader economy, this is a crucial pulse of where business sentiment is placed, and what you can expect moving forward. You can download the full, 61-page report here, but in this post, we’ll look at some of the key points.

First off, Facebook notes that SMB closure rates have fallen in the latest survey period, which it suggests is an indicator of ongoing recovery, as the vaccine roll-out continues and we look to a post-pandemic resurgence.

Facebook State of Small Business Report

As per Facebook:

“Around 18 percent of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) indicated that they were not operational or engaged in any revenue-generating activities at the time of the study. This is a 12 percentage point drop in the number of respondents from May 2020.”

But, on the other hand, it makes logic. Consequently, even though things don’t seem to be getting any better right now, the closure rates themselves will improve at some point, simply because there will be fewer companies to shut down for good in the coming months and years.

In turn, this is mirrored in the sales figures, with the majority of SMBs reporting poorer overall sales performance in July 2020 compared to the previous year – in other words, even those businesses that have managed to remain open are not experiencing good sales at this time.

However, about 28% of operating companies reported increased revenues when compared to the same time last year, with European and North American enterprises, in particular, seeing a comeback in their respective markets.

Facebook State of Small Business Report

This indicates that there has been a substantial recovery in certain areas, which has occurred as a consequence of increased vaccination coverage and the re-opening of more territories.

For most countries, the race is now on to achieve vaccination rates of 80 percent or higher and minimize the effect of the virus, rather than attempting to eradicate it entirely. Overcrowding of the health-care system with COVID patients has long been a major source of worry, and it seems that more countries are finally coming to terms with the reality that the virus will exist and will expand in the near future. It then comes down to minimizing its consequences, which, in the case of greater vaccination rates, may allow for a progressive expansion of the scope of the re-opening.

The study also examines the long-term effects of the pandemic on female and minority-owned companies, which have been disproportionately affected by the epidemic.

Facebook State of Small Business Report

There’s also the digital marketing perspective, with the research showing that more businesses are now using digital tools, particularly for advertising.

Facebook State of Small Business Report

That is something you should expect to see become even more as we approach the Christmas season and more companies see the potential to increase their outreach to eager, and increasingly free, consumers. Increasing competition for social ad spaces and driving up costs in auctions are both possible outcomes – something to keep in mind as you design your campaign.

It’s also worth mentioning:

“Approximately 69 percent of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) indicated that the usage of digital technologies has had at least one positive effect on their company operations, such as an increase in sales or a larger client base.”

It is probable that as we enter the recovery phase, the use of digital tools will grow as more companies realize the benefits of doing business online. This will result in an increase in the use of digital tools overall, as well as an increase in overall economic activity.

There’s a heap more insight in Facebook’s full report, which you can download here, which could provide some valuable insight to help you maximize your marketing efforts.