Poll: 79% of small businesses benefit from online sales

Seventy-nine percent of business owners who sell products online say their company’s revenue has benefited moderately or significantly from online sales, according to a recent poll conducted by Insureon with small business directory Manta.

The poll of more than 2,000 business owners revealed that most products and services are sold through a company website (59 percent). Business owners who turned to e-commerce platforms for help with online sales were split between industry leaders Amazon (13 percent) and eBay (12 percent).

Chart showing how small businesses' revenue increased as a result of selling products online

The new poll also revealed what could be a shift in sentiment toward Amazon and other online sales platforms. In the new survey, 61 percent of business owners responded that Amazon and other online retail options had a positive impact on their business, a 7 percent decrease from respondents in 2018.

Chart showing how Amazon and other online retailers impacted small businesses' sales

The poll marks a significant increase for businesses that reported selling products and services online compared to Insureon’s 2018 survey. In the latest poll, 41 percent reported selling products and services online, while only 29 percent of respondents were online retailers in 2018.

Survey highlights:*

  • 76% of small business owners say online sales are important or very important to their business’s success.
  • Small businesses use these options for online sales:
    • Company website: 59%
    • Amazon: 13%
    • eBay: 12%
    • Shopify: 7%
    • Etsy: 7%
    • Jet: 2%
  • When asked if their revenue has increased as a result of selling products online:
    • 37% say it had a significant impact.
    • 43% say their revenue increased moderately.
    • 20% say selling online only had a minimal impact on revenue.
  • When asked about the impact of online retailers like Amazon on sales:
    • 61% report a positive impact.
    • 39% report a negative impact.
  • 65% of small businesses surveyed have general liability insurance.
    • 78% of those with general liability say their policy includes product liability coverage.

How insurance plays a role in online sales

As small businesses continue to expand their reach and customer base with online sales, their business operations and risks change, particularly with exposure to cybersecurity threats.

Cyber liability insurance

While the majority of small business owners reported having general liability and product liability insurance, less than one in four have an active cyber liability insurance policy, which can offer financial protections for online sales.

Chart showing how many business owners have cyber liability insurance

Cyber liability insurance provides important coverage for all businesses, but it is especially crucial for small business owners who are working with tighter margins and might not have a dedicated employee to mitigate cyberthreats.

Cyber liability insurance can help business owners with:

  • Covering investigative expenses to determine if and when a cyberattack occurred and what data was affected
  • Cyber extortion costs
  • Notification expenses for customers and employees who are affected by a cyberattack
  • Public relations expenses after a cyberattack

Product liability insurance

Most respondents to the Insureon survey reported having general liability insurance that included product liability coverage – an important policy for anyone who sells a product online or in a physical retail store.

If a business sells a product that causes an injury or property damage, a policy with product liability coverage can cover:

  • Legal expenses
  • Medical bills
  • Repairs or replacement of damaged property

Insureon helps small business owners compare quotes from top U.S. carriers with one online application. Start a free application today to protect your business from online sales risks.

*The poll margin of error is +/- 1.99 percentage points.