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One in five SMBs have launched a new online service due to the pandemic

(Image credit: Image Credit: Wright Studio / Shutterstock)

Small and medium-sized businesses have been forced to adopt digital channels in a bid to survive the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from Direct Line.

The company claims that more than a fifth of SMBs (21 percent) launched a new digital service between March and July this year.

While some increased their social media presence, others enabled remote working for their employees. Some debuted online ordering systems and deliveries, improved their company website, or shifted their marketing efforts online.

These businesses cite the pandemic as the primary motivating factor, with a fifth saying it would take them anywhere between four and six months to achieve the same level of transformation in “normal” circumstances.

The levels of spending varied significantly; some businesses spent as little as $1,300, while others spent more than $33,000.

Businesses that successfully deployed a new online service are positive about their future prospects, despite pandemic-related uncertainties.

Almost two thirds (65 percent) feel optimistic about the near future, with three quarters planning to sustain the new digital service or product in the long term.