Small Businesses and Digital Platforms


Small Businesses and Digital Platforms

Nishant Chadha, Viswanath Pingali and Daniel Sokol

Working Papers

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We investigate strategies of small businesses’ usage of digital platforms for advertising and sales. We rely on primary data from a quantitative survey of small business startups, and a few in-depth interviews of small business owners. We find that small firms prefer digital platforms for advertising and sales over conventional methods. As firms grow, while they continue to rely on digital advertising, their preference for conventional advertising (radio, television, etc.) increases. We find a strong correlation between the geographical spread of small firm sales, including exports, and their propensity to use digital platforms. We also find that small businesses multihome on both advertising and sales platforms. Multihoming occurs across established platforms and between established and nascent platforms. Our results enhance the understanding of how small firms rely on platforms and inform the policy debates on platform regulation.