COVID-19 News & Views

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SME satisfaction with the Government stimulus drops as more businesses cut staff

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

The latest wave of the COVID-19 SME Weekly Research Tracker published by Fifth Quadrant and TEG Insights reports the number of small and medium Australian businesses satisfied with the Government business stimulus package has declined steeply from 64% to 55% this week.

Table 1: Satisfaction with the Stimulus Package for Businesses

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It is likely that sentiment has been impacted by the many businesses scrambling to register for the JobKeeper program. Eligibility and cashflow implications have been a major concern and it would appear that these concerns are now being realised.

Accordingly, we can also report an uptick in the proportion of businesses cutting staff which has risen to 40% from 34% last week.

Table 2: Percentage Change in the Number of Staff (Before the Crisis vs Now)

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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 increasing negative sentiment, the road to recovery is becoming clearer. As a result, 70% expect the Government to have wound back many of the lock down measures by the end of June.

Table 3: Winding Back of Lock Down Measures

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In preparation, many SME’s are assessing investment needs, with 20% already planning to use the Instant Asset Write-Off and Accelerated Depreciation Deductions to invest in new plant and equipment.

Table 4: Government Stimulus and Support Measures

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Despite some level of positivity regarding revenue numbers, the week has been marred by rising job losses and declining levels of support for the Government stimulus package. Accordingly, we have seen a spike in concerns regarding business owners’ health and wellbeing.

The next few weeks are critical as we begin the road to recovery. We will soon know if the Government stimulus is working for businesses and employees and will watch with interest as the Government plots our economic revival to ensure we minimise any post-corona fallout.

Please join me, with Steve Nuttall at AC Research, for a webinar on the 15th of May when we will be discussing key insights and implications from the Tracker and uncover how SMEs are navigating their way through this crisis.

Please click on this link to access the full report including subgroup analysis by industry sector, size of business and State. Fifth Quadrant 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