A study from Mastercard has found two in five – 44% – of global SMEs fear they will never achieve the same revenue levels as before the pandemic.
The research – found in Mastercard’s 2022 Borderless Payments Report – covered 3,000 small businesses from around the world.
The study found that 75% SMEs had to make changes to their business model in order to survive the pandemic, with this number reaching a high of 83% in the US, while 64% said they believe it has changed how they will do business forever.
Despite two in five worrying about returning to pre-pandemic revenue, the figure is down from 54% who expressed this same feeling back in 2020. The biggest concern on this matter is found amongst businesses in India and Saudi Arabia, while Brazilian and German firms are the least worried.
The pandemic has sped up digital transformation – with the study finding 68% of SMEs surveyed are now doing more online businesses. The figure is highest in South Africa, the US and South America, but significantly lower in Canada and Europe. Up to 43% said they now do more business internationally, with 37% saying they would have folded during the pandemic if it wasn’t for these overseas opportunities
Furthermore, 68% said the fact global cross-border payments network kept running during the worse of the pandemic has enabled their business to survive. Over half – 58% – said they are now making and receiving more cross-border payments than they were prior to the pandemic, rising significantly in India, Mexico and Brazil.
The study also found that six in ten SMEs said international sales enabled them to grow during the pandemic, with 65% saying it opened up options for new international suppliers and 63% planning to always source global suppliers going forward. Up to 59% said the pandemic has allowed them to source more competitive quotes from suppliers across borders while 46% said using international suppliers reduces risk.
Mastercard’s Small Business Digital Acceleration Program also delivers new services, education and resources to help small business digitally transform. These tools enable small businesses to quickly establish an online presence, protect their business against cyber threats, understand how to market in the digital space and more.
Mastercard EVP Stephen Grainger said, “The unprecedented disruption introduced by the pandemic has realigned global economics, with many of the world’s SMEs looking keenly towards prospects in new markets. With small businesses growing their international customer and supplier networks at pace, especially online, it’s crucial that financial institutions have the right cross-border solutions in place to support them.
“Cross-border payment systems must become faster, cheaper and more secure. Through a single point of access, Mastercard Cross-Border Services allows businesses to send and receive money safely and with the certainty they crave.”
Mastercard recently revealed it is linking all employee bonuses to the firm’s environmental, social and corporate-governance (ESG) performance.
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