By Bernd Debusmann Jr
81% of UAE firms reported lower sales than last year
Half of UAE SMEs and of a third of Saudi ones have been forced to reduce employee headcounts amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new statistics from Facebook.
In a new report on the state of small businesses around the globe from Facebook, the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), found that 50 percent of UAE SMEs, as well as 35 percent of Saudi and 51 percent of Egyptian ones, have been forced to reduce staff number.
Additionally, the report showed that 81 percent of UAE firms and 64 percent of Saudi firms reported lower sales than last year.
Despite the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, many regional SMEs reported being optimistic about the future. According to the report, 61 percent of SMEs in the UAE and 59 percent in Saudi Arabia reported being optimistic about their business prospects after the Covid-19 pandemic subsides.
Globally, 74 percent of small businesses that were closed at the time of the survey expect to re-open at containment measures are lited. In both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, 65 percent of SMEs said they are operational or engaging in revenue-generating activities.
The statistics also suggest that the pandemic has led to many small businesses pivoting towards digital.
The report found that 40 percent of UAE and 29 percent of operational SMBs on Facebook reported that 25 percent of their sales were made digitally in the past month.