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Amid Omicron SME business sentiment hits all time low

According to research by SavvySME, business sentiment has plummeted to all time lows in 2021 after months of lockdown, amidst the arrival of Omicron.

The SavvySME Business Sentiment Report 2021 analysed the behaviour of users on the community marketplace in the past 12 months, in particular the activities of those looking to start new businesses.

ABF media

The figures for November show those looking into starting businesses is at an all time low for 2021 down 71.69% from its peak in June 2021.

Despite the lockdown lift, businesses are still cautious. SavvySME Top Influencer in Business Coaching, Danielle King elaborates:

“The key right now is to protect your business from closure and to find ways to pivot; utilize the downturn time for staff online training, retooling, upgrading premises, reviewing policies, practices in the business etc.”

The effects of 2021’s lockdowns proved to hit hardest in the month of August with the largest single month decrease in business sentiment, down 46.23% from the month before.

ABF media

This was especially felt in the hospitality sector. SavvySME Influencer in Hospitality, Nikki Williams mentions:

“We lost 60-70% of business in the first month of COVID-19 restrictions to hospitality businesses.”

The construction and trade sector doesn’t expect things to improve any time soon. SavvySME Top Influencer in Business Coaching, Simon Clark discusses the effect on small construction and trade companies:

“There’s no doubt, smaller trade and construction businesses have seen a lot of people put things on hold for the foreseeable future. I’m sure we haven’t seen the peak of the slowdown or anywhere near it, in fact.”

The promising sign is that while December 2020 saw an even lower business sentiment, at 19.58% of the peak in June 2021, it bounced back in January 2021 to 74.40%.

Businesses have adapted quickly to accommodate the changing and uncertain landscape. SavvySME Top Influencer in Ecommerce, Rob Tamburro reflects on his businesses:

“As an owner of two ecommerce stores, one being in the beauty industry and one being in the food industry, I have seen two ends of the scale. On one hand, with the closure of the beauty industry and people staying indoors, there is no doubt a drop in online beauty purchases.

On the other hand, I also own a restaurant chain and we manufacture our own pastas and sauces, frozen and delivered to your doorstep. As supermarket shelves remain empty, our online sales for our frozen pastas have gone through the roof. It didn’t just happen. We put some thought into it as the opportunity arose, however it has taken off a lot faster than anything we have seen before. No doubt people are rethinking the way they purchase and directing their money to what is more essential.”

The pandemic has seen businesses crumble and others pivot and grow, reshaping the business landscape. The impact of and response to Omicron and other variants will determine how businesses navigate the next few months and through 2022.

Interest in new business ventures (last 12 months)

 

Month

Business Sentiment

November 2021

28.31%

October 2021

30.57%

September 2021

40.06%

August 2021

51.81%

July 2021

98.04%

June 2021

100.00%

May 2021

75.75%

April 2021

68.22%

March 2021

65.21%

February 2021

89.16%

January 2021

74.40%

December 2020

19.58%

Source: SavvySME Business Sentiment Report 2021

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