Retailing giants racked up huge profits in 2020, driven by a surge in online sales, while many small businesses struggled amid COVID-19 closures and shoppers leery about venturing into brick-and-mortar establishments.
According to Amazon's forward guidance for the fourth quarter, the company expects net sales of between $112.0 billion and $121.0 billion, or growth between 28 percent and 38 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
"We’re seeing more customers than ever shopping early for their holiday gifts, which is just one of the signs that this is going to be an unprecedented holiday season," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a statement.
Small businesses, meanwhile, especially ones in the leisure and hospitality industries and retailers that struggled to adapt to changing shopping habits, suffered amid pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions.
While the national average of small businesses that reported a “large negative impact” of the virus on operations stood at 30.4 percent in the reporting period, over 67 percent of small businesses in accommodation and food services said they have suffered a major blow. Retail fared better, with 25.5 percent of businesses in this sector indicating a "large negative impact."
Nearly 90 percent of small businesses in the accommodation and food services sector reported a moderate-to-large negative impact from the pandemic, while that figure stood at 67.7 percent for small retailers.
"Yelp closure data shows that businesses providing home, local and professional services have been able to withstand the effects of the pandemic particularly well," the report states. "But despite bright spots in some sectors, restaurants and retail continue to struggle and total closures nationwide have started to increase."