Scrappy SMBs: Despite Pandemic, They Sent More Emails, Drove More Sales In 2020

Small businesses accelerated their digital marketing last year, achieving 61% more online sales than they did in 2019, according to “How Small Businesses Are Finding New Ways To Grow," a study released Thursday by Mailchimp.

It’s no surprise that SMBs are pursuing digital, given the desperate conditions they face, such as COVID-19.

Online sales totaled $61.3 billion, at least among Mailchimp’s 14 million customers, the study says. There were 515.3 million orders.

On a monthly business basis, there was an average 21.1% increase in emails sent, for a yearly total of 333,635,013,935. 

Email volume was steady from Thanksgiving to Giving Tuesday, even while orders leaped by 36%. 

That said, the top three goals for SMBs this year are as follows:

  • Make people aware of/educated about your business—31% 
  • Establish your business as trustworthy and credible—27% 
  • Promote new products, services or features—25%



How have SMBs adapted to  changing circumstances?  In the U.S., they are:  

  • Exploring new ways to market and sell: 54%
  • Making changes to the business model: 50%
  • Investing in new skills, people, or processess: 54% 
  • Reducing spend or resources: 58%
  • Business losses/closures: 37% 
  • No changes made: 9%

At the same time, SMBs that were more impacted by COVID-19 in the U.S. used 9.35 tools in the fourth quarter of 2020. Less-affected firms utilized an average 6.75 tools. 

For instance, 29% more-affected firms leveraged custom sign-up forms, versus 21 of the less impacted. And 21% of the most-affected used automated brand and design tools, compared to 10% of the less impacted. 

Overall, Mailchimp customers sent more than 12 million emails using automations in 2020, up 8% from the prior year.

The big vertical winners in terms of gains are: 

  • Home and Garden—113% to $1,652,553,168 
  • Computers and Electronics—108% to $780,006,262 
  • Daily Deals/E-Coupons—106% to $94,269,468 
  • Restaurant and Venue—85% to $210,646,150 
  • Manufacturing—84% to $1,016,890,364 
  • Agricultural an Food Services—84% to $728,277,378 
  • Business and Finance—68% to $82,755,771  
  • Health and Fitness—67% to $995,470,417  
  • Ecommerce—67% to $10,495,671,455  
  • Sports—60% to $812,630,869 
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