The financial downturn associated with the outbreak of COVID-19 has had far-reaching effects across the global economy. These effects have been particularly pronounced for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), which are often the first to feel the impact of rocky economic waters. To better understand this reality, Thryv, Inc., a leading SaaS provider of marketing and customer relationship management solutions, has conducted multiple studies of the impact of COVID-19 on SMBs.

Under the leadership of President and CEO Joe Walsh, the studies conducted by Thryv, in partnership with America’s Small Business Development Center, seek to better understand how the pandemic has affected SMBs and how they are recovering amidst the vaccine rollout. The results provide a telling story of the disparate impact the pandemic has had on various business sectors and how that impact carries over into the recovery.

Thryv Studies at a Glance

The SaaS provider’s studies have placed particular emphasis on the viewpoints of SMB leadership through a series of survey questions. The initiative first began in March 2020 and continued until July of that year. Thryv has since reopened the study, relaunching in mid-November 2020. In total, 4,244 small businesses have taken part in the studies to date.

The newest iteration of the initiative spans more than 100 industries with representatives from all 50 states. Many of the businesses that responded have deep ties to their communities, with over 50% claiming more than 30 years of operation. 62% of the businesses have fewer than ten employees and roughly the same number have annual revenues under $500,000. Additionally, respondents span a diverse spectrum of business owners, with more than one-third being led by a female or minority owner.

Determining Severity

One key way the new study from Thryv has been able to improve understanding about the pandemic’s impact on SMBs has been to help determine its severity. What the study found was that that impact was indeed severe. Perhaps unsurprisingly, results showed that many of the hardest-hit businesses operated in high-touch sectors such as pet care, medical practices, and personal services — which includes hair salons, tattoo parlors, restaurants, and bars.

The study helps to illustrate the drop in demand experienced by many of these sectors as pandemic-related fears and quarantine orders kept patrons at home. For many businesses, revenues have fallen in conjunction with these changing conditions provoking a year of economic decline. These declines varied to an extent across the country dependent on a range of factors, including the strictness of local shutdown orders.

Potential Vaccine Impact

Another central component of the study was the impact the vaccine rollout was set to have on SMBs. The SaaS company asked respondents to convey their perception of the impact the rollout will have on their business. The results provide a telling snapshot of the thinking of business owners around the country and how they anticipate the economy may shift in the coming months.

High-touch businesses led in this category, reporting a larger anticipated impact on their operations than respondents from other sectors. For instance, in the personal services group, 35% of respondents felt the vaccine would have a large impact on their operations. By contrast, respondents in industries such as home repair, auto services, and home services felt the vaccine would have a much lower impact on their operations.

These results provide a telling look at which industries have been able to weather the economic storm most effectively despite widespread disruptions. Many of these industries involve products and services where demand has dropped only slightly, or even elevated, throughout much of the pandemic. For those respondents, there was a perception that the vaccine was not as integral to their continued business success.

Joe Walsh and Thryv During the Pandemic

This disproportionate impact across sectors helps to highlight some of the benefits that Thryv has provided to customers both before and during the pandemic. By supporting business owners in strengthening customer relationships, the SaaS company is able to help promote more stable business models that can better survive economic change. This allows business owners to not only double down on their existing strengths but also pivot to new opportunities when necessary.

This philosophy underlies everything the company works to accomplish and can be traced back to the guiding vision of President and CEO Joe Walsh. From payment processing to customer relationship management, Walsh has made practicality a priority in everything his company offers. His vision has centered around providing flexibility and freedom through a solid foundation of software-based tools. Throughout the life of the company, these tools have shown an evergreen ability to help SMBs build on the foundations put in place by their owners and continue to grow their operations.

The company’s focus on providing actionable tools and data is evident through the recent study exploring the impact of the pandemic on SMBs. By sourcing insights from business owners, Thryv has been able to provide the benefits of that information to others seeking clarity on the pandemic recovery effort. With this clarity comes a greater understanding of how the economy is evolving and how businesses can better position themselves in a post-pandemic world.

About Thryv Holdings, Inc.

Thryv Holdings, Inc. owns the easy-to-use Thryv® end-to-end customer experience software built for growing small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that helps over 40,000 SaaS clients with the daily demands of running a business. With Thryv®, SMBs can get the job, manage the job and get credit. Thryv’s award-winning platform provides modernized business functions, allowing SMBs to reach more customers, stay organized, get paid faster, and generate reviews. These functions include building a digital customer database, automated marketing through email and text, updating business listings across the internet, schedule online appointments, sending notifications and reminders, managing ratings and reviews, generating estimates and invoices, and processing payments.

Thryv supports franchise operators and multi-location business owners with Hub by Thryv™, a software console that enables business managers to oversee their operations using the Thryv® software.

Thryv also connects local businesses to consumer services through our search, display, and social media management products, our print directories featuring The Real Yellow Pages® tagline, and our local search portals, which operate under the®,® and URLs and reach some 35 million monthly visitors. For more information about the company, visit

Thryv delivers business services to more than 400,000 SMBs worldwide that enable these SMBs to compete and win in today’s economy.   

On March 1, 2021, Thryv announced it closed the acquisition of Sensis, Australia’s leading digital, marketing and directory services provider, which helps Australians connect and engage through its leading platforms, digital consumer businesses (Yellow, White Pages, True Local, and Whereis), search engine marketing and optimization services, website products, social, data, and mapping solutions, and through its digital agency Found. Sensis is also Australia’s largest print directory publisher including the Yellow and White Pages.