New survey data from the NSW Small Business Commission shows business confidence has bounced-back as NSW reached key milestones in the reopening roadmap.
The survey reveals that business operators’ confidence in their own business prospects and the NSW economy has returned to levels on par with levels seen before the Delta outbreak.
Individual business confidence rose sharply to 52 per cent in October, up 13 percentage points from September (39 per cent) and confidence in the NSW economy also increased significantly to 47 per cent in October, up 16 percentage points from September (31 per cent). A much faster recovery in business confidence has been observed coming out of the latest lockdown when compared to post lockdown in 2020.
More than a third (37 per cent) of businesses are expecting a significant uplift in trade in the lead up to summer, almost double the result recorded in September (19 per cent), with predicted future revenue reaching the highest levels seen in the last two years of research.
Pleasingly, the survey also reveals a significant decline in the number of businesses reporting they are severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, with more businesses reporting either a lesser or negligible impact. Certain sectors remain more severely affected than others, with businesses dependent on foot traffic and domestic or international visitors among the hardest hit.
While three in four businesses reported that COVID-19 restrictions and rules were clear for their business, the survey suggests businesses remain concerned about the potential for workplace outbreaks and the potential impact on ability to trade. Businesses are also concerned about the ability to anticipate or predict changes to restrictions and the impact of COVID-19 on workplace health and safety in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.
The online survey was completed between 11 and 22 October, with 2,227 small and medium sized businesses across NSW responding.