Revenue growth points to small-business recovery

New research suggests SMEs are beginning to show signs of recovery after months of COVID pain.

According to the latest COVID-19 SME Tracker from business market research firm ACA Research, conducted in partnership with TEG Insights, revenue declines among SMEs has decreased from 57 per cent in July to 45 per cent. This is the lowest level since the tracker was initiated in April.

Short-term revenue expectations are also on the rise, with 23 per cent of SMEs predicting higher revenues over the next four weeks and only 21 per cent expecting a decline in revenues, down from 28 per cent last time small-business owners were canvassed.

Accordingly, the number of businesses using the JobKeeper program in October is predicted to decrease as 19 per cent of those currently in the program claim they will no longer be eligible in October. This is an increase from 14 per cent recorded last month. The report expects that Government will be able to redirect funds to other areas of the economy that require support.

In addition, the proportion of SMEs that are concerned about business survival has fallen to 26 per cent compared to 36 per cent in mid-July, while SME decision-makers who are concerned about their own health and well-being has declined to 16 per cent, down from 21 per cent last month.

The research reveals that support for the Federal Government has increased, with 69 per cent of SMEs now satisfied compared to 61 per cent in early August. However, support for the State Government in Victoria continues to decline, with 25 per cent of SMEs extremely dissatisfied with their management of the pandemic.

“The level of optimism this week is greater than expected,” ACA Research Managing Director, James Organ, said. “SMEs are demonstrating a high level of resilience despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.

“While most SMEs recognise the impact on Global and Australian economies with be long term, we are seeing signs that revenues and confidence are slowly improving,” Organ added. “Of course, these trends could easily reverse once stimulus and support measures begin to be wound back, but hopefully the run into Christmas will support further optimism for 2021.”

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