Various businesses suffered huge losses this year owing to the COVID-19 outbreak and the consequent lockdown. All the economic activities, expect for essential items, came to a standstill. However, many businesses did find an alternate route to keep going – the online business platform. Firms increasingly took their businesses online and avoided the traditional physical marketplace. Small and Medium enterprises also entered the digital business spectrum. According to a survey report by CRISIL, smaller enterprises have shown a "big digital shift" to shore up sales in pandemic times. National Startup Awards 2021: DPIIT Invites Entries to Reward Outstanding Startups; Know Eligibility, Prize and How to Register Online at

The survey was undertaken in November with the aim to find out the level of change in digital activities and access of the small businesses owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey concluded that, the adoption of digital sales channels among micro and small enterprises (MSEs) has increased significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. According to the survey by CRISIL, around 60 per cent of the respondents adopting digital selling said it helped them weather the pandemic-induced stress, while the rest said it boosted sales. 5 Auspicious Dates in January 2021 to Kick-Start a Startup!

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“These respondents were also more positive about their near-term business situation compared with those that didn't take the digital route,” said Bhushan Parekh, Director, CRISIL. “About 29 per cent of the MSEs surveyed were using digital sales channels such as online aggregators or market places, social media, and mobile marketing before the pandemic struck," added Parekh.

“That number has shot up to 53 per cent among small enterprises and 47 per cent among micro enterprises as of November. Despite their limitations, micro enterprises are not very far from small enterprises in digital adoption. Also, many more are now saying they will take the digital route soon,” he said. “This underscores the fact that increasing digitalisation enlarges the footprint of MSEs, helping them tap newer markets and improving their access to credit,” said CRISIL’s director.

In the manufacturing industry, SMEs belonging to gems, jewellery and textile sector recorded the maximum improvement, as per the survey. Textile SMEs showed a massive jump of 38 percentage points in adoption of digital channels. Adoption in pharmaceuticals was unchanged at 29 per cent because of relatively higher offline demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.