May 19, 2022

New Research: Small Businesses Believe Congress is Focusing on Wrong Issues

By Data Catalyst Institute

Small Business Priorities Are Inflation, COVID, and Data Security – Not Antitrust

Washington, DC (May 19, 2022): As inflation rises to historic high levels, the stock market continues to be volatile, and supply chain disruptions threaten economic recovery, small business leaders are confounded by Congress’s excessive attention on a problem that doesn’t exist: “fixing” the remarkably successful small and medium-sized business (SMB) digital economy. A national survey conducted by the Data Catalyst Institute (DCI) on behalf of the Connected Commerce Council (3C) shows small businesses want Congress to prioritize inflation (60%), gas prices (51%), COVID (32%), and supply chain issues (31%). In contrast, only 7% of small businesses consider regulating large technology companies and the digital economy a top priority, and 87% worry that Congress’ proposal to regulate tech would make small business digital tools and services more expensive and less useful.

“Small business leaders are facing once-in-a-century hardships of rapid inflation, ongoing supply-chain issues and the lingering uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, Congress is spending valuable time and resources on digital economy legislation that small businesses do not want, did not ask for, and are deeply concerned about,” said Rob Retzlaff, Executive Director of 3C. “Digital tools and services help millions of American small businesses compete with global brands. But if Congress carries through on its short-sighted, politically motivated antitrust efforts to go after American tech companies, this legislation will end up harming millions of small businesses, making it harder for them to innovate and compete.”  

The leading Senate bill, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992), would prohibit the largest online platforms, namely Google (Alphabet), Amazon, Facebook (Meta), and Apple, from “preferencing” their own affiliated products, which would fundamentally undermine how large digital companies provide small businesses with affordable, easy-to-use integrated tools and services. 

“Our study shows that small businesses don’t want Congress pushing legislation that puts at risk one of the brightest spots of our economy – the digital economy,” said Dr. Mark Drapeau, Editor-in-Chief of DCI. “Research has demonstrated the value of digital tools to small businesses, especially during the pandemic when operating online became necessary. It’s not surprising – given the incredible value digital tools provide – that small business leaders want Congress to focus their attention on other, more urgent priorities.”

More key findings from this research include:

  • Only 4% of microbusiness leaders (companies with fewer than 50 employees) consider regulating large technology companies and the digital economy a top priority
  • Within tech-related policies, small business leaders prioritize data security (47%) and data privacy (26%), as compared to the 7% that prioritize regulating large tech companies.

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