Small Businesses: Trade, Tech Key to COVID Recovery
recently released survey results, finding that small businesses largely view
both trade and tech as essential to their economic recovery from COVID-19.
Business leaders would like to see expanded trade between the U.S. and other
countries as they believe this creates opportunity and jobs here in our
country. This 2020 Trade Index survey polled 1,000 business leaders.
results of the FedEx Trade Index remind us that, even in times of global
uncertainty, small businesses overwhelmingly value the opportunities for growth
and access to new markets that are made possible through global trade,” said
Brie Carere, executive vice president and chief marketing and communications
officer for FedEx. “In 2020, small businesses are adapting rapidly to embrace
e-commerce and extending their reach to new consumers beyond their borders.
Small businesses believe in the benefits of modern free trade agreements to
enable their growth.”
survey found that 82 percent of U.S. small business decision makers think
international trade will improve the overall economy, and 75 percent of them
think it will create opportunities and jobs. At the same time, 70 percent of
those polled who have engaged in international trade said regulations presented
a barrier to their international e-commerce business.
percent of small business leaders polled indicate that they have invested in
new technology since the pandemic began; 74 percent say it has created better
customer experiences; while 71 percent said it has created better employee
percent of small businesses polled said they have developed new communication
strategies about mask and social distancing requirements, with over half (51
percent) saying they have changed to temporary remote work. Forty-three percent
have had a hiring freeze, while 31 percent have furloughed employees.
Twenty-seven percent went so far as to lay off employees.
percent applied for a new loan or grant, while 26 percent switched to working remotely
on a permanent basis. Twenty-four percent changed employee benefits, and 19
percent hired more employees.
percent said having a clear plan for in-person interactions is very important
for success, beating out all other factors, including customer tech, employee
tech, training, transitioning to a different model, allowing remote work,
having a clean travel plan, etc.
poll was conducted in late September. An additional survey was performed in
Canada to complement the FedEx Trade Index and account for two of the three
markets in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which went into
effect over the summer. FedEx found that 91 percent of U.S. small businesses
are supportive of it, and 86 percent of Canadian small business leaders are as
percent of small businesses in the United States said that programs addressing
job retraining and skills upgrading should be a priority to help the U.S.
compete on a global level.
is clear that businesses are optimistic about what international trade and new
technologies will be able to do for them. Look for these to be major factors in
small business growth in the coming year.