Majority of COVID-impacted SMEs expect to recover by 2023

post-pandemic, restrictions

Research released by SME travel management provider Corporate Traveller reveals that while 78 per cent of Australian SMEs were negatively impacted by the global pandemic, 76 per cent of them expect to recover by the end of 2023 or have already recovered.

Among the businesses that have been impacted by COVID, 32 per cent said they expected to recover by the end of 2022; 33 per cent said that they’ll regain their lost ground in 2023; 23 per cent revealed that their recovery would likely occur after 2023; and 11 per cent of businesses said they had already recovered. Just two per cent revealed they will never recover or had closed their business in the last two years.

“It’s promising to see that a high proportion of SMEs are hopeful for their recovery and are likely to bounce back over the next 18 months,” Tom Walley, Global Managing Director for Corporate Traveller, said. “Many SMEs experienced financial hardship or were forced to hibernate, and even close, during the pandemic. This also impacted our economy. However, with business success on the horizon, Australia’s economy can also enjoy a much-needed boost.”

The report notes that 57 per cent of respondents say that Australia’s economic recovery would have the biggest positive impact on their own business. Over a third, 38 per cent, of business owners said a return to travel would help their businesses recover, while 36 per cent said returning to the workplace to boost employee engagement and productivity would greatly aid their recovery. Recruiting better and additional talent will help 31 per cent of SMEs, higher consumer confidence in the economy would help 30 per cent, and reduced inflation would assist 27 per cent, while better technology and Government stimulus would help 23 and 21 per cent of businesses, respectively.

“Thanks to the recently announced Federal Budget, more SMEs will be able to tap into the very resources and assistance they said they needed to hasten their recovery,” Walley said. “For instance, the Government will invest $21 billion in tax cuts to reduce the tax rate to the lowest level in five decades. Businesses will also be able to access new technologies and tax relief for training to upskill their employees.

“I also believe that a return to face-to-face communication will play an important role in the recovery, as do the 38 per cent of businesses who said they need to get back to travel to recover,” Walley added. “Reinvigorating travel programs that were paused or investing more in travel this year will help drive sales and growth opportunities. As more countries open, businesses will also be able to recruit overseas talent and expand into new markets. Travel will be an important strategy for SMEs to consider in their recovery, whether they DIY their own travel or use a travel management provider to help navigate the new, complex environment.”