Canadian Manufacturing

Pandemic threatens to deepen divide between big and small businesses

Canadians planning to spend majority of their holiday budgets at big businesses, according to survery

October 21, 2020  by CM Staff

Businesses are slowly beginning to reopen amid COVID-19. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

TORONTO — While big businesses, like Amazon, are reporting significantly larger revenues compared to last year, small retailers are falling further behind, with the majority (62%) still below normal revenues, warns the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Most of us don’t think too much about where we shop—if we can get everything we need with a few clicks or if we assume a big box store carries the best value, we may overlook the hundreds of small businesses around us that offer fantastic products and services while creating jobs and giving back to our communities,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president at CFIB, in a prepared statement. “When we choose to shop local, we choose to keep the money we spend in our economy, to support Canadian jobs and to invest in the businesses that make our communities vibrant. It’s a choice we can all feel good about.”

Nine in 10 small businesses say the dominance of big businesses selling online, such as Amazon, threatens Canadian small businesses. This situation may worsen during the lead up to the holidays, as Canadians are planning to spend two thirds of their holiday budgets at big businesses, according to new public opinion research conducted by Maru/Matchbox.

“Small and big businesses didn’t enter the pandemic on a level playing field and things have only gotten worse. During lockdowns, big box stores like Costco and Walmart were allowed to remain open and sell all kinds of goods because they have grocery sections, while many small businesses were shut down. Small businesses really need a good holiday season to even things out,” added Dan Kelly, president at CFIB.

Advertisment

CFIB estimates that one in seven independent retailers is at risk of closing before the end of the pandemic.