Small businesses play an important role in life in the United States. From restaurants that serve as gathering places to dine, to bookstores and hardware stores that treat customers like family and sponsor local soccer teams, small businesses are the backbone of our communities.
So I’m very proud of the work Google has done to help local businesses across the United States harness the power of the internet to grow ever stronger.The US Economic Impact Report, released today, shows that in 2018, our search and advertising tools helped generate $335 billion in economic activity for millions of businesses, website publishers and nonprofit organizations worldwide. Nationally, it was $283 billion in 2017. We handle more than 1 billion calls for businesses across the country, whether it’s a phone call or an online reservation. We also connect businesses with customers overseas — in fact, over 35% of clicks came from the US in 2018.Business S. ads on Google come from locations outside the US.
We also work with business owners in their own cities as part of Grow with Google, our initiative to create economic opportunity for all. Since 2017, Google employees have visited more than 50 cities across the country and taught digital skills to more than 3 million Americans to help them prepare for work, find a job and grow their business.Digital skills are essential in today’s economy and our goal is to equip every entrepreneur with the skills they need to succeed.
One such owner is Sara Irvani, who runs Okabashi, an American shoe company her family started after she came to the United States during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Okabashi is located in Buford, Georgia, a small town that was once an important shoe manufacturing center.With other American shoemakers migrating abroad, Sara is determined to keep her business in Buford and provide economic opportunity to her hometown and her 200 employees.
To make all of this possible, Sara has made significant investments to strengthen the company’s digital presence. It’s a smart move: data shows that small businesses leveraging advanced digital tools like online advertising and data analytics generated almost four times more revenue than a year earlier. Sara uses Google Analytics to better understand what types of shoes her customers prefer, and this information helps her team create new products that will keep people coming back to Okabashi shoes. Customers in Germany and abroad can also be reached via Google Ads.Currently, 64% of the company’s online sales are made through the platform. To date, his company has sold 35 million pairs of shoes to customers in 11 countries.
My other favorite stories from the 2018 report are how Google employees helped Amini’s, a furniture specialty store in St. Louis, build a new website and robust e-commerce strategy. In rural New Hampshire, Fuller’s Sugarhouse has been able to offer maple syrup to 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.