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    The Number of Companies Worldwide Plunged by Half a Million Due to COVID-19

    Published on September 27, 2021

    The mass layoffs and office closures caused by the COVID-19 have affected almost every industry and sector. As a result, hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide were pushed out of the track, and many of them couldn’t meet the challenges posed by the pandemic.

    According to data presented by BuyShares.co.uk, 213.6 million companies were operating worldwide last year, 560,000 less than in 2019.

    The First Drop in Two Decades

    After the COVID-19 hit, businesses had to react in agile and decisive ways. For most of them, that meant changing how they operate, provide services, and communicate with clients. While some companies, especially in the eCommerce and tech sector, found new opportunities emerging in the COVID-19 environment, many of them were not that fortunate.

    According to Statista, Eurostat and World Bank data, before the pandemic, the number of companies had been increasing for two decades in a row. In 2000, more than 122 million companies were operating worldwide. By the end of 2010, this figure jumped to nearly 160 million and continued rising. Six years later, it touched 185 million.

    Statistics show that 2017 and 2018 witnessed the biggest annual growth, with the number of companies operating worldwide rising by 20 million to 205 million in total. In 2019, another 9 million firms started doing business, increasing the total number to over 214 million.

    However, the COVID-19 changed that and brought the first drop in two decades, as the number of businesses slipped to 213.6 million globally.

    The Number of Asian Companies Jumped by 700,000 in a Year, US Market the Worst Hit

    Statistics show that companies from the Asia Pacific region were much less affected by the COVID-19 than their European or American peers. In fact, the total number of companies from this region increased by 700,000 in a year, despite the pandemic.

    The EMEA region had 57.2 million companies operating last year, slightly decreasing from 57.6 million in 2019.

    The vast majority of companies forced to close their business due to the pandemic were from North and South America. After the COVID-19 hit, the total number of enterprises in the region plunged by 900,000 to 24.1 million.

    According to the survey, small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) were much worse affected by the COVID-19 crisis than large firms. In 2020, the number of SMEs plunged by more than 500,000 to 212.9 million in total. At the same time, the number of large enterprises with 250 employees or more slipped to around 667,000, compared to 685,000 a year ago.