Small businesses optimistic about festive season bonanza

holiday season
christmas shoping time – interior of the shopping center

Research by OnDeck Australia reveals that many small businesses feel very optimistic for the upcoming holiday season, with just over half of those surveyed (53 per cent) expecting to benefit from the holiday season, and 35 per cent of them believing there is significant pent-up consumer demand.

Microbusinesses are more cautious, however: 43 per cent of businesses with one or two employees are expecting a busy trading season, whereas 63 per cent of businesses with 26-50 staff share this sentiment.

“After such a difficult 18 months, it’s terrific that there is plenty of optimism among the small-business sector,” Oliver Wade, Head of Marketing & Partnerships at OnDeck Australia, said. “Nevertheless, it is to be expected that not all companies will be so optimistic, hence we’re seeing 46 per cent of business owners who are uncertain about the Christmas trading period.”

The research also noted that while 60 per cent of small businesses have the marketing resources available to promote their business post-lockdown, 40 per cent have said they will need to engage in marketing activities to make the most of the season.

“A strong marketing strategy will be critical to help small businesses stand out in a competitive market,” Wade said. “This is especially the case as consumers have significantly embraced online shopping during lockdowns, and that means Australian small businesses are increasingly competing on a global scale.

“This festive season could be the ‘make or break’ period that allows small businesses to make up for lost revenue during lockdowns,” Wade added. “OnDeck’s survey confirmed that one in ten (10 per cent) small businesses depleted their cash reserves during lockdowns. A lack of cashflow can make it extremely challenging to ramp up activities such as marketing and engaging new staff, which can allow a business to make the most of the upcoming festive season.

Wade said that a cashflow boost is the key to a rise in confidence, allowing small businesses to make the most of the peak trading period. “But that boost needs to come fast as we rapidly head into the Christmas period,” he warned.