Impact of Coronavirus on Small Business

Note: Charts are now updated through 4/16/2020. We have also done a deeper analysis of the CARES Act and PPP and created an online petition to articulate our belief that the CARES Act is too little, too late and not a good fit for most small businesses.

In San Francisco, we are now starting on week 2 of ‘shelter in place.’ In the last 24 hours, New York, Louisiana, Ohio, and Delaware have followed suit and shut down non-essential businesses, joining a list of over a dozen states that have issued similar orders. While it’s only been a week of staying inside for my family and me, and we’re still adjusting to this new normal, it’s increasingly clear what the impact of Coronavirus will be on small businesses–nothing short of devastating and abnormal.

Overall across our 14,000 Fivestars businesses in the US and Canada, we have seen visits drop by 70%.

Beauty & Spa businesses have seen 90% of their revenue disappear. Food and Shopping businesses have seen two-thirds of their revenue wiped out. Pets have been more resilient and even experienced a surge in visits when ‘shelter in place’ orders first started coming out, but they, too, have started coming down as well. Notably, the only industries where we are seeing more ‘normal’ visit behavior are grocery stores, liquor stores, vape, and tobacco shops.

In terms of cities and states, at the beginning of last week, we watched visits to local businesses in Seattle and San Francisco plunge, but other cities soon followed. Even El Paso, where Fivestars has its phone sales and support teams, hasn’t been immune. As I’ve watched this data closely for the past week, it’s been like watching a multi-car pileup in slow motion, except this is the American economy and the livelihood of millions of small business owners, who are the heartbeat of their local communities.

Our focus right now is getting local businesses the help they need. We pulled together a few resources and ideas based on what we’re seeing across our network and will be posting more in the coming days. Small businesses are 46% of the economy. Based on the data we’re seeing, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a 30% GDP decrease in Q2 for the US economy. However, we have also seen people #LoveLocal. People are buying gift cards, setting up GoFundMes, and reaching out to support their beloved local businesses. Let’s stay safe and defeat COV-19, but let’s also fight to save small businesses.

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