During the heat of the pandemic, difficult stories about small businesses experiencing lost sales and closures were front and centre. Yet despite the challenging circumstances, many of these small businesses remained optimistic that brighter days would come.
Unfortunately, this optimism and resilience is being tested. Meta’s latest “Global State of Small Business Report”, which surveyed over 20,000 small businesses around the world in July 2022, including more than 9,000 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), revealed that times remain tough, with small businesses now also facing supply chain disruption, geopolitical uncertainty, inflation as well as energy and production cost hikes.
Almost 20% of small and medium businesses (SMBs) globally reported being closed in July 2022, largely as a response to COVID and further business challenges. Over half all SMBs (60%) reported that they have had to put their product and service prices up in the past 6 months.
The festive season is critical for small businesses. In fact, the study showed that 25% of SMB owners expect to make more than half of their annual revenue in the final months of the year.
Small Business Gifts that #DeserveToBeFound
As this important festive sales period gets underway, we are introducing the latest edition of our “Good Ideas Deserve to be Found” campaign – to celebrate unique gifting ideas from small businesses across EMEA and encourage holiday shoppers to support local SMBs.
As we all know, finding the perfect gift for your loved ones can be challenging. In fact, almost half of EMEA holiday shoppers find it hard to decide what gift to get for others (Meta Seasonal Holidays Study by YouGov, Dec 2021).
As a result, people are looking for unexpected gift ideas during this festive period – particularly those that enable them to support small businesses. Some 57% of EMEA holiday shoppers enjoy discovering relevant items they weren’t actively looking for, and 90% are likely to try a new brand during the holiday season. Additionally, over half of EMEA holiday shoppers reported making a special effort to purchase from a local, small business.
That’s why this holiday season, we are once again on a mission to showcase extraordinary, one-of-a-kind gifts from some of the most creative and innovative small businesses across the EMEA region.
SMBs are a treasure trove of inspiring products and services guaranteed to surprise and delight. From matching, handmade knitwear for you and or your dog from Irish Dog Designs to traditional wicker decor from family business Siostry Plotą in Poland, many small businesses offer artisanal products from expert craftspeople that you won’t find anywhere else.
If you’re on the hunt for a truly personalised gift, small business owners can even help you create memorable, unique pieces. For example, Nos Chers Enfants in France gives you the opportunity to record a children’s audiobook in your own voice. KEKSZauber in Germany allows you to express your best wishes with customised holiday cookies, and thanks to Coverlab in Italy, you can build bespoke, quirky phone covers that are sure to be a hit under the tree.
As many countries prepare for their first Christmas free from Covid, shoppers are also turning to the gifts of experiences and time together. Over one fifth of festive shoppers in EMEA reported shopping for experiences, live events or travel categories. So along with extraordinary products from small businesses, we’re shining a spotlight on unique activities to gift family or friends, including abseiling, kayaking or paintballing with BraveHearts Expeditions in Ghana or an forgettable tour of Paris in a vintage side-car.
Digital Tools Power Small Business Growth
Small businesses are adapting their business models and pivoting online in order to turn their fortunes around and boost growth. According to a 2022 Small Business Study from Ipsos, SMBs across EMEA reported that they have shifted all or most of their business operations from in-person to online since the COVID-19 pandemic began (for example, 61% in Egypt, 50% in Nigeria, 35% in Israel and 30% in Germany). 46% of SMBs in Sweden even reported that most of their sales are made online, with 39% in the Netherlands and 38% in the UK and Norway reporting the same.
Furthermore, the findings show that Meta apps are crucial to small business success. Of SMBs in the European Union currently using Meta apps, 75% reported that Meta apps helped their business grow, 53% said they have helped increase access to new customers, and 60% noted that Meta apps have even helped create jobs in the local community.
Digital tools are particularly important during the critical festive trading period. Research conducted by YouGov reveals that 68% of EMEA holiday shoppers discovered ideas or browsed online for inspiration during the 2021 holiday season. The study shows that Meta apps are top for online discovery at this time, overtaking both e-commerce and search. Moreover, when festive shopping online, 26% of EMEA holiday shoppers found a local business they did not know about in the first place.
In the face of new economic headwinds, getting discovered and connecting with customers online during the holidays is not only crucial for the bottom line, but fundamental for any small business wanting to thrive and connect with its customers in the months and years to come.
Meta is in the business of small business. More than 200 million businesses use our apps every month to reach customers and grow. We have more than 10 million active advertisers across our services, the majority of whom are small and medium-sized businesses. This latest campaign is a continuation of our efforts to help SMBs unlock economic opportunities and ensure that their good ideas can be found, in EMEA and beyond.