MEDIA RELEASE: 18 December 2020: Sentiment amongst SMEs is very positive as a tumultuous 2020 draws to a close. Recovery continues to gain momentum with strong data reported across revenue, jobs and investment criteria.
46% of SMEs are now trading at pre COVID revenue levels or better and only 30% are reporting significant revenue losses compared to 39% in the last wave. Short term expectations are also very good with 41% of SMEs expecting better revenue in 4 weeks’ time.
Jobs data has also rebounded with 26% of SMEs reporting job losses due to the pandemic, compared to 38% in November. Simultaneously, the proportion of SMEs recruiting new employees has again reached 20%. Recruitment momentum continues in the retail sector with the upward trend climbing from 8% to 18% since the end of September.
The COVID-19 SME Tracker is conducted by leading business market research firm ACA Research in partnership with TEG Insights and tracks the impact of COVID-19 across more than 300 small and medium enterprises each fortnight.
In line with the COVID vaccine rollout in the UK and the USA, all long-term impact indicators are firmer, driven by stronger sentiment regarding the Australian and Global economies.
Accordingly purchase intentions for the first quarter of 2021 are also robust, with SMEs lifting investment in new plant and vehicles, with the truck market looking particularly strong. The instant asset write-off is supporting this investment with 29% of SMEs using this stimulus compared to 24% in the last wave.
With all the good news it is pleasing to convey that only 9% of respondents (down from 18%) are now very concerned about their own health and wellbeing.
ACA Research, Managing Director, James Organ said: “In summary, Christmas is looking more cheerful than expected and optimism regarding the New Year is strong amongst SMEs. While the road to recovery is a long one, the revenue and jobs data reported in this wave suggest that most SMEs are confident business will return to the new normal soon.
While new outbreaks continue to be disconcerting, SMEs are generally satisfied that the Government has the correct approach and protocols in place to prevent widespread infections that could quickly dampen consumer and business confidence”.