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Why only a forth of SMEs rely on Christmas as peak revenue period

Research by leading small business lender OnDeck Australia has dispelled the myth that the festive season is a sales bonanza for the nation’s small businesses.

Among 500 small businesses surveyed by OnDeck, just one in five (22%) said Christmas is a peak revenue period.

Drilling down further into OnDeck’s findings, only one in two (49%) small retailers point to the festive period as a critical sales period.

Mr Cameron Poolman, CEO of OnDeck Australia, said, “It is a testimony to the strength and resilience of small business in Australia that the majority of small enterprises don’t rely on Christmas as a make-or-break sales event.

“Undoubtedly, the festive season can be a leading sales period for some small businesses. However, it has the potential to bring significant challenges to others, especially those businesses operating in industries such as construction that often shutdown completely over the holiday period.


“This can bring the potential for a rapid upswing in annual leave expenses at a time of slowed or completely halted business activities.”

Study Highlights

  • Less than one in four (22%) small businesses say Christmas is a peak revenue period.
  • Only one in two (49%) small retailers say the festive season is a leading sales period.
  • For small businesses in non-retail sectors, Christmas can bring increased costs and reduced revenue through industry shutdowns.
  • A challenging season for cashflow

OnDeck’s research identified that across all sectors, almost one in five (18%) small businesses start preparing for the festive season three months out from December 25.

“Unless a business can recoup these costs through increased Christmas revenue, the end of the year can present a serious cashflow squeeze to a small business,” said Mr Poolman.

With only weeks left until Christmas and the New Year holiday period, small businesses need access to finance now – and that calls for rapid funding decisions.

As an online, small business specialist lender, OnDeck provides a simple, streamlined application process, with funds available in as little as two hours through OnDeck’s unsecured Lightning Loan® product, available for up to $175,000 in funding and as low as $10,000 for smaller capital needs*.

4 Tips for small businesses to navigate the holiday season

Cameron Poolman suggests five ways small businesses can maximise the festive season’s trading potential and minimise the costs:

  1. Leverage rapid finance to tap into discounted trading stock

Small retailers may be able to secure discounted trading stock by offering faster or upfront payment terms to suppliers. Timely access to funding can give small business retailers the cashflow needed to leverage discounts or special offers from suppliers.

  1. Bolster online capabilities

As more Australians head online for purchases, now is the time to invest in your enterprise’s website and e-commerce capabilities. It gives a small business an opportunity to compete with larger businesses. Consider if additional funding could be the key to upgrading your IT systems and security while taking advantage of possible end-of-year discounts on IT hardware.

  1. Start recruiting early

Faced with a tight labour market, small businesses that need to hire additional staff for the festive season should have their recruitment efforts underway as soon as possible. This is especially the case if permanent team members have requested leave over the Christmas period.

  1. Enjoy some ‘me’ time

Previous OnDeck research has highlighted that small business owners rarely enjoy a break even over Christmas. Yet taking a break allows business owners a valuable opportunity to recharge and rejuvenate. With the right funding, businesses can hire a locum or temporary staff, giving business owners a valuable opportunity to unwind ahead of the New Year.


Also read: Christmas 2023 will be a buyers’ market as discounts start early, says NRA


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