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Why 2021 hit harder than 2020 for small businesses

As the year draws to a close, new data from Findex suggests small businesses found year two of the pandemic more disruptive than the first, with business confidence levels for the year ahead also taking a hit.

A survey of more than 500 SMEs across Australia and New Zealand found seven in ten businesses said Government economic support had been important to their business’ survival, with six in ten predicting its withdrawal will impact them going into 2022.

In a survey of more than 500 SMEs across Australia and New Zealand, Findex found:

Looking back, businesses found the second year of the pandemic more disruptive than the first:

  • A third (32 per cent) said they were “significantly impacted” by the pandemic this year, up from a quarter (25 per cent) in 2020

Looking forward, business confidence for the year ahead has also dropped:

  • Only two in five (40 per cent) businesses say they feel confident about the future, dropping from 1 in 2 (52 per cent) in 2020
  • However, two thirds (64 per cent) of businesses estimate things will be “back to normal” in six months

SMEs were reliant on government support this year to survive – and fear for their future – as this support scales back:

  • 7 in 10 businesses said Government economic support packages had been important to the survival of their business
  • 6 in 10 businesses predict that winding back government assistance will have an impact on their business.


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