Facebook apps have helped businesses in the European Union (EU) generate sales corresponding to an estimated EUR 208 billion last year - resulting in nearly 3.1 million jobs, the social networking giant said in a new report.
According to Facebook, around 25 million businesses in the European Union, mostly small businesses, are using its services each month.
"Businesses said that using Facebook apps helped them generate an estimated EUR 98 billion in exports last year. Of these exports, 58 billion euros are sales within the EU and EUR 40 billion are sales to the rest of the world," Nicola Mendelsohn, Vice-President for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Facebook, said on Monday.
To understand the true extent of Facebook's impact on the European economy, the company commissioned a study by Copenhagen Economics, one of the leading economic firms in Europe. The study surveyed over 7,700 businesses across all industries and sizes in 15 countries.
"This shows the critical role social media plays in driving sales for businesses across Europe. This is particularly true for small and medium sized businesses," Mendelsohn added.
Six in 10 companies said Facebook apps are important in lowering marketing costs and a similar number said Facebook apps are important in improving customer service.
"Six in 10 businesses using Facebook apps report them as helpful to enter markets, and 7 in 10 businesses using Facebook apps are exporting to other countries compared to 5 in 10 non-users," the report mentioned.
The study also found that female-founded businesses, in particular, credit social media with helping them to start and grow their businesses.
"Fifty-eight per cent of female-founded businesses surveyed said that Facebook apps are important for enabling them to start businesses, while 65 per cent said it helped grow their revenue," said the report.