As businesses continue to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, new research by Mastercard reveals that optimism among SMEs across Australia has doubled from from 34 per cent in 2020 to 68 per cent this year.
According to the study of over 400 Australian SME businesses, 52 per cent of SMEs nationwide are optimistic about the next 12 months, with 70 per cent believing they will come back stronger in 2021 and beyond. Over half our SMEs, 56 per cent, expect see a revenue increase of at least 10 per cent during the next 12 months, with 61 per cent of them expecting that revenue increase to come from online sales.
Innovation the key to recovery
In another positive development, 70 per cent of SMEs feel more comfortable than ever in diversifying or launching new products or services in the future. Over as third, 36 per cent, of SMEs are planning to launch a new service this year, 24 per cent plan to launch new social media channel and 34 per cent are looking at launching new products for their customers.
“Australian SMEs continue to show incredible resilience and agility in spite of COVID-19, and the Aussie ingenuity the nation is so famous for has played an essential role in getting businesses back on their feet,” Richard Wormald, Division President at Mastercard Australasia, said.
“Innovation really is the bright spot amid the pandemic,” Wormald added. “Continuing industry support for these businesses with digital solutions and resources will be essential for the future.”
A note of caution
There are still some lingering concerns, however. SMEs expressed wariness about a slowing economy (50 per cent), another lockdown (49 per cent), a fall in customer demand (29 per cent) and supply chain interruptions (22 per cent).
Also of concern is the fact that the study reveals that only 48 per cent of SMEs have contingency plans in place to mitigate any impact to their business activities from further lockdowns that may result from COVID outbreaks.