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Ecommerce and digital payments key to growth for SMBs in 2022

Small businesses around the world have been buoyed by their willingness to embrace ecommerce, with many agreeing that online retail has been critical to their survival through the pandemic, according to research from financial services giant Visa.

Visa surveyed 2,250 small business owners across Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, UAE, and the US and found that, of those with an online presence, 90% attributed their survival to increased efforts to sell via ecommerce. On average, 52% of their revenue came from online sales in the last three months.

This forced ecommerce push has led to 90% of SMBs to feel optimistic about their future, with 54% viewing last year as an opportunity and reporting their business was doing well heading into this year.

SMBs are also looking to further digitise their offerings by accepting digital payment options this year. 82% of those surveyed plan to accept a digital option in 2022, with 73% seeing the adoption of new forms of payment being key to their business growth. 24% of small business owners are even planning to accept cryptocurrencies and, notably, 18% of respondents are already cashless.

“Payments are no longer about simply completing a sale. It’s about creating a simple and secure experience that reflects one’s brand across channels and provides utility to both the business and its customer,” said Jeni Mundy, Global Head Merchant Sales & Acquiring at Visa. “The digital capabilities that small businesses built up during the pandemic – from contactless to ecommerce – helped them pivot and survive and, by continuing to build on this foundation, can now help them find new growth and thrive.”

Visa also surveyed 1,000 adults in the US, and 500 adults in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, and UAE. The payments company found that 68% of consumers said they feel comfortable buying items or services from businesses in other countries or territories, which tracks with the 50% of SMBs looking to increase cross-border sales this year.

On the payments front, 53% of consumers expect to shift to becoming cashless within the next 10 years, while 25% see themselves getting there within two, and 16% are already only using digital payments.

The top reasons for going cashless were online shopping (47%), lower risk of robbery (38%), and convenience (37%).

Interestingly, 41% of consumers have abandoned a purchase in a physical store because digital payments were not accepted. This figure grows to 59% when you look particularly at Gen Zers, and 55% when you look at Millennials.

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