Updates to this research will be published weekly to track the impact and response to COVID-19. Week 14 results are now available.
Despite 73% of SMEs reporting declining revenues compared to 69% last week, the latest COVID-19 SME Weekly Research Tracker presents a more optimistic picture this week with positive data in relation to business survival, job retention, Government support and investment intentions.
The longer-term impact is also becoming clearer with 51% of respondents expecting revenue to return to pre-COVID levels by October. While this is encouraging, with 49% expecting a slower recovery, it is likely that stimulus measures will need to be extended in some sectors.
Table 1: Revenue Returning to Pre-COVID Levels
The COVID-19 SME Weekly Tracker is conducted by leading business market research firm ACA Research in partnership with TEG Insights and tracks the impact of COVID-19 across more than 300 small and medium enterprises each week.
While only 23% of respondents believe their revenues will be higher in 4 weeks’ time, there seems to be confidence that further restrictions will be lifted quickly, and hence economic activity will accelerate.
Table 2: Future Revenue Expectations
The research also indicates some changing fortunes by industry, with the hardest hit sectors of Hospitality, Retail and Distribution all showing signs of positivity. Larger SMEs are also recovering strongly.
Accordingly, Government support is at its highest since the inception of this research with 74% satisfied, including 31% who are extremely satisfied.
Table 3: Satisfaction with the Government's Response
The level of optimism is slowly increasing as the restrictions are lifted and businesses reopen. While SME decision makers are cautious about the recovery there is an uptick in confidence which suggests things may return to the new normal faster than expected. The combination of the stimulus and increased economic activity is also providing the impetus to increase business investment which should also promote a broad-based upturn.
Please click on this link to access the full report including subgroup analysis by industry sector, size of business and State. ACA Research and TEG Insights will publish weekly updates of this research to track the impact and response to COVID-19. Hopefully the results will become more positive as we work through this crisis together.