Scholars have extolled e-commerce as a pathway for sustaining firm operations in the unique circumstances of COVID-19. To add crisis time evidence to the body of work, and based on World Bank Enterprise Survey data, this inquiry interrogates 249 small manufacturing firms in Italy by examining the effect of e-commerce on (1) resilience, (2) direct exports and (3) indirect exports. The results show that while e-commerce has a positive impact on direct exports, a negative influence is recorded on indirect exports. Besides, e-commerce significantly increases resilience which, in turn, accelerates direct exports. However, resilience is found to have a trivial influence on indirect exporting. Furthermore, held as a constant, firm size demonstrates a significant and positive effect on direct and indirect exports. These fresh findings prompt implications for understanding the correlates of e-commerce, resilience and export behaviour. Practically, there are salient insights for stakeholders engaged in reviving small manufacturers’ exports for a speedy post COVID-19 recovery in Italy.