New reports provide insight on COVID-19 impact on SMEs

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Xero has released two new reports highlighting the economic and emotional impact of the pandemic on small businesses across multiple countries.

The Xero Small Business Insights (SBI) Special Report, “Pandemic Insights: Small Business Experience”, produced with AlphaBeta (part of Accenture), is based on anonymised and aggregated records of over 300,000 Xero subscribers.

It shows the impact on small business revenues and jobs in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. In North America and Asia, these insights are supported by survey-based customer research.

● Following the March lockdown New Zealand experienced the largest revenue fall of 40%, but has since seen recovery

● At peak, Australian small businesses had the largest job losses – at 12%

● Manufacturing is leading recovery in the UK, New Zealand and Australia with revenue growth of between 1% and 13%

● Small business was twice as badly hit as big business

● More tech enabled businesses had 40% less job losses

“Being able to quickly provide insights of this scale, with country comparisons, provides better understanding as to how the small business recovery can be supported around the world,” said Steve Vamos, CEO, Xero. “Small business is family and community. It’s a big source of growth and innovation in economies and they are doing it tough right now.”

Xero’s second paper, “Emotional metrics: small business mindsets during the pandemic”, focuses on the human impact of the crisis with research in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, North America and Singapore.

The nature of small business means owners often have close personal-level relationships with their staff and customers. This means a pandemic, and the resulting upheaval has economic consequences for small business owners, and presents challenges managing the human impacts.

The research finds that 43% of small business owners in these countries are worried about their own mental health, and 39% are worried about the mental health of their employees. Analysis from a sentiment measurement tool, Mindset AI, also shows the predominant emotion of small businesses is one of being “worn down”.