Study: Small Businesses Already Feeling Huge Drop in Demand from COVID-19

A just-released national study found that 69% of U.S. small businesses have already experienced a large drop in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic and 60% believe demand will continue to decline. The study of small businesses by America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and Thryv, found that 82% of small businesses are “extremely concerned” about the current business environment in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Additionally, the study uncovered impacts on the labor market and employment trends. In fact, 64% of the small businesses studied indicated employee hours have been cut and 22% said they had not been cut yet but they expect to do so. From a supply chain perspective, 74% of small businesses indicated that they or their suppliers have seen disruptions in their supply chain.

“Small businesses across America are feeling the pain of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Gordon Henry, Chief Strategy Officer at Thryv. “They are seeing demand plummet and are unable to stock their shelves due to supply chain disruptions. As a result, they are having to cut employee hours to stay operable.”

These are just several data points from the joint study by Thryv — a SaaS and marketing solutions company with over 350,000 small business clients nationwide — and America’s SBDC conducted among small businesses across the country this past Friday. The research supports the integral role small businesses play and the value they bring to the economy. Both America’s SBDC and Thryv have a long history of working with small businesses. 

Charles “Tee” Rowe, President & CEO at America’s SBDC, noted, “One-third of the study respondents said they were likely to apply for an SBA loan and another 18% said they didn’t realize these were available. SBDCs can provide insight and expertise on what options are available and how to maneuver through the loan process, connecting local business owners with the right resources in these difficult times.”

The study indicated 60% of respondents have delayed or cancelled plans for new investments, loans and expansions in light of the pandemic.
“At Thryv, we help small businesses stay in touch with their customers using software on their smartphones,” Henry said. “During this crisis, we’re waiving startup fees so businesses can use the software to stay afloat.”

The study was conducted on March 20 through March 23 among more than 850 small businesses, with a margin of error +/- 3.5%. America’s SBDC and Thryv will continue to gather data from SMBs over the next four to eight weeks.

For full study results, email

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