Americans Fear For Small Businesses as 2020 Nears an End

This week, the first round of an approved COVID-19 vaccine begin shipping across the nation. As a result, many Americans are feeling a cautious sense of hope as a harsh year nears an end. Nevertheless, in the meantime, small businesses are continuing to struggle — something that the majority of individuals are well aware of.

According to a survey conducted by Kekst CNC between November 20th and December 1st, 54% of respondents report being personally aware of a business that was forced to permanently close due to the pandemic. Interestingly, this figure was higher among those on the West Coast, with 57% of those surveyed in that region stating they were familiar with closed businesses in their area. These figures put the U.S. well ahead of other countries that were also surveyed, including the United Kingdom (42%), Germany (39%), Sweden (34%), France (33%), and Japan (23%).

Similarly, the majority of Americans say they’ve worried for local businesses throughout the pandemic. 58% of respondents in the U.S. said they feared for small businesses in their area, which was only slightly below 62% in the U.K. who said the same. Meanwhile, it was significantly higher than those in Japan and Sweden (35% and 34% respectively).

Beyond small businesses, Americans were also more likely to worry about their own financial livelihoods this year. Kekst CNC’s survey found that, in addition to 25% of U.S. respondents who had lost their jobs, 28% expect that they will lose theirs. Moreover, 34% of Americans surveyed worry that their employer may soon collapse. Comparing these responses to those from other countries, the United States was tied with Japan in terms of expecting job loss (followed by the next highest, France, with 19%), while Americans were more than 10 percentage points ahead of second-place Sweden when it came to actual job losses among respondents.

Also interesting is that when the pandemic does eventually come to an end, the way Americans work — or prefer to work — could look very different. As Kekst CNC Global Head of Knowledge, Insights, Research & Analytics Nicholle Manners explains, “[O]ver half of American respondents indicated they were interested in continuing to work from home part of the time (60%), or all of the time (51%). Both responses were substantially higher than the other markets surveyed. Nearly half of American respondents also indicated that they would seek a new employer if they did not receive this flexibility.” Manners went on to note, “In line with this, 70% of U.S. respondents indicated that they would seek a greater work life balance following the pandemic.”

Overall, while there may be hope on the horizon, it’s still too soon to think that small businesses are out of the woods. In fact, as previous surveys have shown, some owners believe it will be several months if not years before their operations and revenues return to normal. The good news is that Americans seem acutely aware of the challenges these businesses are facing and have shown a willingness to help in any way they can. Hopefully these efforts will prove to be enough as we move forward in 2021 at long last.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

Other Articles by Jonathan Dyer

Carbon Credit API Cloverly Joins Visa's FinTech Partner Connect 

Last year, Visa introduced the FinTech Partner Connect program to the United States, with the goal of introducing institutions to vetted startups that could help them expand their product offerings. Now, the latest company to join the program is Cloverly. Founded in 2019, Cloverly is an API for carbon credits, allowing businesses and consumers to help fight climate change. As the company points out, with the Visa partnership, Visa clients...

Prosper Announces $75 Million Growth Capital Financing

A long-admired FinTech has added some new capital to its coffers and it continues to grow after more than 15 years in business. Recently, Prosper Marketplace announced that it had closed a $75 million debt financing round. This capital came from a fund managed by Neuberger Bergman and will be used to help Prosper meet the demand for its loans, credit card, investment products, and more. According to the company,...

Small Business Saturday 2022 Drives Projected $17.9 Billion in Sales

This past weekend saw the kick-off to the holiday shopping season with Black Friday followed by Small Business Saturday. Now in its 13th year, the latter is a promotion meant to raise awareness for small local businesses and encourage consumers to support them. Now, the initial figures from this year's event have arrived. According to American Express (which actually invented the retail holiday in 2010), an estimated $17.9 billion were...