Aussie micro businesses battling on despite pandemic

Despite the ongoing pandemic that has adversely affected businesses across the globe, Australian micro businesses are faring better than their global counterparts.

Findings released by invoicing platform Invoice2Go reveal that micro businesses – those with up to four employees – in Australia suffered a 12 per cent decline of total invoiced dollar amounts in April 2020 compared to April 2019, while those in other parts of the globe suffered higher declines. US micro businesses suffered a 27 per cent decline, Canada’s 40 per cent, Europe’s 46 per cent and the UK’s 53 per cent.

The research also reveals that, among the 24,000+ Australian micro-businesses surveyed, those considered an “essential service” fared better. Home maintenance and outdoor services experienced just a six per cent decline, followed by construction and trades (nine per cent). On the other hand, micro businesses in the marketing and creative industries were the most heavily affected, suffering a 42 per cent decline, followed by entertainment, events and food services (37 per cent) and health and wellness (25 per cent).

Mark Bartels, CFO at Invoice2go, said, “Australia has done a fantastic job of flattening the coronavirus curve, and that success is echoed in the comparative strength of its local micro businesses compared to every other comparative market globally.

“While almost all of Australia’s smallest business owners – from copywriters and graphic designers, to event organisers and tradies – are feeling the pinch, federal and state governments are beginning to ease certain restrictions in an effort to help reinvigorate the economy, so these businesses can begin to think about a return to a ‘new normal’.”

The data also reveals that the decline in revenue pre-dates COVID-19. The widespread bushfires that broke out early this year precipitated a nine per cent year-on-year revenue decrease in January 2020, followed by a 10 per cent decrease in February.

“A critical look at this data is going to be an important indicator for the months ahead,” Bartels said. “While those businesses considered ‘essential services’ are performing better than others, we need to do what we can to support our smallest businesses during this trying time – even when the situation appears to be gradually improving.

“If there’s one term that can be used to describe Australian small businesses it’s ‘resolute’, with the way they have responded, recovered and held firm over a six-month period that has presented a stream of unprecedented challenges.”

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