COVID-19 News & Views

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Declining SME confidence as Government mudslinging creates uncertainty

Updates to this research will be published weekly to track the impact and response to COVID-19. Week 14 results are now available.

Despite many restrictions being lifted throughout Australia, the latest wave of the COVID-19 SME Weekly Research Tracker published by ACA Research and TEG Insights presents a more uncertain picture this week with negative data associated with Government support and collaboration.

Support for the Federal Government response to the COVID-19 crisis has seen a decline to 65% since its mid-May peak of 74%. Despite satisfaction with the Government’s approach to winding back restrictions ticking up, the ongoing mudslinging between various state and federal leaders is clearly impacting business confidence. Accordingly, concern about business survival is again on the rise across most industry sectors, demonstrating a high level of uncertainty about the recovery.

Table 1: Satisfaction with the Government's Response

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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.

Despite this uncertainty, nearly one-third of businesses now expect revenues to increase over the next 4 weeks, compared to only 22% in early May. This includes the hard-hit hospitality and retail sectors.

Table 2: Future Revenue Expectations

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However, businesses are less optimistic about the time required to return to pre-COVID-19 revenues with only 44% confident their numbers will rebound by October 2020, compared to 51% in the previous 2 weeks. 

Table 3: Revenue Returning to Pre-COVID Levels

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With shifting business confidence, the health and wellbeing of business decision makers also continues to fluctuate. The low of 45% reporting concerns only 2 weeks ago, has increased to 56% this week.

Table 4: Level of Concern about Personal Wellbeing

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As restrictions continue to be wound back, it is important for all Governments to align to ensure business confidence is optimised. The recent mudslinging by various state and federal leaders is creating mixed messages and leading to a high level of uncertainty amongst SME decision makers. This uncertainty will impact businesses reopening, job creation and therefore economic activity.

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.

Topics: Market Research Healthcare Research Thought Leadership Research COVID-19 SME Tracker