September 03, 2020

Womply Study Suggests COVID-19 More Damaging to Small Businesses than Hurricanes or Wildfires (BusinessWire)

  • Landmark research compares the economic impact of extreme weather events and the COVID-19 pandemic on local businesses in their respective areas of impact.

REMOTE – September 3, 2020 – Womply, the local commerce platform that provides apps, APIs, marketing, and financial tools to make local commerce happen, today revealed the findings of a new study contrasting the financial impact of COVID-19 and extreme weather events on local businesses.

The study compares the findings of several analyses, including Womply’s COVID-19 Impact Dashboard, Small Business Threat Index, and newly published Impact of Severe Weather on Local Businesses report.

Among the major findings, the study revealed COVID-19 has been more damaging for small businesses than either wildfires or hurricanes in terms of forced closure within their areas of impact. Within 90 days of the start of the pandemic, 12% of American small businesses closed and never reopened. Compare that to the 8% permanent closure rate forced in the first 90 days by America’s largest wildfires and hurricanes between 2017 and 2019.

These findings support a growing body of evidence that suggests the greatest threat to the health of small businesses is a prolonged closure that prevents sales revenue. For Womply’s Small Business Threat Index, the company surveyed nearly 2,300 small business owners in all 50 states and found that 1 in 5 local businesses wouldn’t last 30 days if sales stopped completely, while 55% reported their business wouldn’t last longer than 90 days. 

“As outside threats to small businesses increase, it’s never been more important that owners be armed with the data they need to make informed decisions,” says Womply Founder and CEO Toby Scammell. “Our ongoing research into local commerce and small business revenue trends helps limit that uncertainty and help owners better understand how catastrophic events may impact their business.”

To compile these findings, Womply’s data science team conducted an in-depth analysis of credit and debit card transaction data at more than 400,000 U.S. small businesses impacted by extreme weather events and COVID-19 and across a range of industries, including restaurants, retail, health and beauty, lodging, auto services, bars, and entertainment. Notable weather events in the study included the Camp, Carr, Kincade, Woolsey, and Northern California Firestorms, as well as Hurricanes Dorian, Florence, Harvey, Irma, and Michael.

The findings are publicly available on and shed light on a number of concerns small businesses face when confronting an extreme weather event, including: 

“This study gives small businesses insight into just how damaging these catastrophic events can be,” says Scammell. “We’re excited to democratize this level of data analysis, giving small business owners access to the information they need to better prepare their businesses for the impacts of prolonged closure in the future.”

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About Womply

Womply’s mission is to help local businesses thrive in a digital world. Founded in 2011, Womply is a local commerce platform that provides apps, APIs, marketing, and financial tools to make local commerce happen for over 500,000 American businesses and their customers. All of Womply’s products and services are powered by the Womply Commerce Graph, a proprietary data asset that offers the most complete view of local commerce. To learn more, visit or email


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