A San Diego Small Business Expo in September 2019. Courtesy County News Center

The pandemic has ground on for more than 18 months, and many small businesses continue to feel the strain, though prospects are improving for others.

Customer demand remains a problem, with 42% of small and mid-size businesses reporting lower sales in July. That’s an improvement though from the winter, when 59% did so.

Some of these businesses, however, are seeing signs of recovery – 39% report higher sales. That’s an increase of 20% since February. 

In California, data shows though that 83% of small and mid-size businesses reported being operational in July, an increase of 4% since February.

The findings are part of Facebook’s “Global State of Small Business Report,” based on information provided by small and midsize employers that use the social media platform.

Other findings from the research:

  • Customer demand may be an issue for California small and midsize businesses, but it remains highest here as compared to other states. 
  • More than half of California small businesses get at least 25% of sales from a digital presence. That’s a 10% increase over the U.S. average.
  • California small businesses are 7% more confident in their ability to stay open for the next 12 months than they were in February. 

A significant slice of the businesses that participated – 31% – face a significant problem though – cash flow. That’s a 9% increase since February.

The report also broke out numbers for women- and minority-led small businesses.

For women:

  • 81% of their businesses were operational in July, a slight uptick from February.
  • 41% counted lower sales in the prior month of operations, compared to 2020.

For minorities:

  • 80% of businesses were operational in July, up 7% since February.
  • 52% said they were confident in their ability to be in business a year from now, far less than the 70% who expressed confidence among small-and mid-size businesses as a whole.

Facebook issued the report in time for National Small Business Week, which concludes Friday.  

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