Small businesses play a vital role in American life. From the restaurants that serve as places to gather over a meal, to the bookshops and hardware stores that treat customers like family and sponsor local soccer teams, small businesses are the backbone of our communities.
So I’m really proud of the work Google does to help local businesses across the United States use the power of the web to grow and thrive. Our U.S. Economic Impact Report, released today, shows that in 2018, our Search and Advertising tools helped create $335 billion in economic activity for millions of businesses, website publishers, and nonprofits across the country—up from $283 billion in 2017. Each month, we drive over 1 billion connections for businesses nationwide, like phone calls or online reservations. We’re also connecting businesses with customers overseas: in fact, in 2018 more than 35 percent of clicks for U.S. business advertising on Google came from places outside the U.S.
We’re also working with business owners in their own hometowns through Grow with Google, our initiative to create economic opportunity for everyone. Since 2017, Googlers have traveled to more than 50 cities around the country, training over 3 million Americans in digital skills to help them prepare for work, find jobs and grow their businesses. Digital skills are a must-have in today’s economy, and our goal is to ensure that every business owner has the skills they need to succeed.
One of those business owners is Sara Irvani, who runs Okabashi, an American footwear company her family founded after arriving to the U.S. during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Okabashi is located in Buford, Georgia, a small town that was once a major American shoemaking hub. While other American shoe manufacturers have moved their operations abroad, Sara is committed to keeping her business in Buford and bringing economic opportunity to her hometown and her 200 employees.
To make this possible, Sara has made a big investment in bolstering the company’s digital presence. It’s a smart decision—data shows that small businesses that use advanced digital tools, such as online advertising and data analytics, experienced revenue growth in the previous year that was nearly four times as high. In Sara’s case, she uses Google Analytics to better understand the kind of shoe designs her customers are most excited about, and those insights help her team design new products that keep people coming back to purchase Okabashi shoes. She’s also able to reach customers—both here and abroad—by using Google Ads. Now, 64 percent of the company’s online sales come in through the platform. To date, her company has sold 35 million pairs of shoes to customers in 11 countries.
Some of my other favorite stories from the 2018 report include how Google employees have helped Amini’s, a specialty furniture store in St. Louis build a new website and a robust e-commerce strategy. In rural New Hampshire, Fuller’s Sugarhouse was able to share its maple syrup with customers in Switzerland, France, Australia, Brazil and Mexico. We’ve also helped many veteran-owned businesses, nonprofits, and digital businesses to make Google products and programs work for them.
While the U.S. Economic Impact Report only focuses on activity in the U.S., we’re working with partners to expand economic opportunity all over the world. Last week we announced that Grow with Google has helped to train more than 10 million with digital skills in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and earlier this year, we released a report detailing our impact in Brazil, with more reports to come in other countries later this year.
Supporting the success of businesses, partners, and communities is an important part of our overall vision of building a more helpful Google for everyone. To learn more about how Google can help businesses, go to google.com/economicimpact.