Updates to this research will be published fortnightly to track the impact and response to COVID-19. View previous wave.
The latest wave of the COVID-19 SME Research Tracker shows that despite the ongoing issues associated with suppressing the pandemic, the proportion of SMEs with significant revenue declines (over 30%) has reduced from 57% in July to 45%. This is the lowest level since the inception of the research. Short term revenue expectations are also on the rise with 23% of SMEs predicting higher revenues over the next 4 weeks. Only 21% are expecting revenues to fall which is a drop of 7%, from 28% in the last wave.
Table 1: Decline in Revenue Due to COVID-19
Accordingly, the number of businesses using the JobKeeper program in October is predicted to decline. 19% of those currently using the program now claim they will no longer be eligible in October. This is an increase from 14% last month. Clearly this is good news for the Government as funds can be redirected to other areas of the economy that require support.
Table 2: JobKeeper Extension
In line with more positive revenue expectations, the proportion of SMEs very concerned about business survival has fallen to 26% compared to 36% in mid-July. Consequently, the proportion of SME decision makers very concerned about their own health and well-being has declined to 16% from 21% in the previous wave.
Table 3: Level of Concern About Business Survival
With a more optimistic outlook, it is not surprising that support for the Federal Government has also jumped, with 69% of SMEs now satisfied compared to 61% in early August. However, support for the State Government in Victoria continues to sink, with 25% of SMEs now extremely dissatisfied with their management of the pandemic.
Table 4: Satisfaction with the Federal Government's Response
The level of optimism this week is greater than expected. SMEs are demonstrating a high level of resilience despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.
While most SMEs recognise the impact on Global and Australian economies with be long term, we are seeing signs that revenues and confidence are slowly improving. Of course, these trends could easily reverse once stimulus and support measures begin to be wound back, but hopefully the run into Christmas will support further optimism for 2021.
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 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.