Small businesses rely on their digital presence to attract new customers and stay afloat. This is because Google search helps attract customers outside the immediate local area so that businesses can gain more exposure than they otherwise would. If Google pulls its search function in Australia, then this will cause a significant decline in the online presence of such businesses.
Cafes, restaurants, hair salons and other locally owned businesses will be hit the hardest. This could be extremely detrimental to the Australian economy, 30% of which is made up of small businesses. These businesses are already struggling due to COVID-19, still recovering from the financial damage caused during 2020.
Already the restaurant industry took a 15% fall during the 2019-2020 financial year bracket and is estimated to only recover by 5.1% in the 2020-2021 financial year. While the cafe industry dropped by 14.8% and is expected to recover only 6.3%. Both of these figures do not begin to account for the damage that could occur if Google search is pulled.