The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed small and medium enterprises towards digitisation which in turn has helped them boost sales, according to a report by Crisil.

Prior to the pandemic, around 29% of the small businesses Crisil surveyed were using digital sales channels, the rating agency said. Since the coronavirus struck, the number has shot up to 53% for small enterprises and 47% among micro-enterprises as of November.

“Many more are now saying they will take the digital route soon,” Crisil Director Bhushan Parekh was quoted as saying in a media statement. “This underscores the fact that increasing digitalisation enlarges the footprint of MSEs, helping them tap newer markets and improving their access to credit.”

Crisil’s survey covered 566 micro and small enterprises with an annual turnover of Rs 25 crore. Around 60% of these small businesses said that going digital has helped them survive the pandemic, while the rest said it improved sales.

The gems and jewellery and textile industries were the biggest in embracing online sales. From a mere 13% small manufacturers of gems and jewellery using online sales channel before Covid-19, the proportion has now risen to 55%. Textile manufacturers too have seen digital adoption increase to 58% from 20% earlier.

Among service providers, the real estate and human resource sectors have seen higher digital adoption. “Realtors were impacted by the pandemic largely due to the unavailability of migrant labour and travel restrictions,” said Manasi Kulkarni, associate director at Crisil. “Eventually, these players adapted to the new normal by adopting digital sales channels and partnered with online aggregators to help them with lead generation.”



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