At 80 per cent, the overwhelming majority of Australian small businesses are optimistic their business will survive the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if trade doesn’t pick up quickly enough, about 52 per cent fear for their long-term survival, according to this year’s Small Business Recovery research commissioned by American Express.
The research examines the impact of COVID-19 on Australian small businesses and the measures that can best support them in rebuilding. These insights accompany an early return of Shop Small, a national movement founded by American Express to celebrate the contributions small businesses make to their communities and the economy, and to encourage shoppers to support them.
“State restrictions are easing and it’s encouraging to see the progress we’re making as a country. While people are starting to head out again, small businesses still face the challenge of getting customers to return at the levels they need. We’re bringing back Shop Small early this year to encourage shoppers to support the nation’s resilient small business operators and accelerate their recovery,” Corrina Davison, Managing Director of American Express Australia, says.
“As the nation takes important steps on the road to recovery and more businesses reopen, we’re encouraging all Australians to recognise the critical role they play in helping the businesses at the heart of our local communities by Shopping Small.”
The report says part of getting Australians out and shopping again will entail a greater level of comfort about precautions businesses are taking to protect the health of their customers. More than half – 52 per cent – of shoppers said they were concerned for their safety, and 80 per cent said businesses need to implement safety measures such as sanitisers and distance markers for them to feel safe.
Only a third of shoppers said they felt at ease to return to bricks-and-mortar stores, and 22 per cent will only do so once COVID-19 cases get down to zero in their state. Another 15 per cent said only when no cases exist nation-wide.
“There’s no doubt there has never been a tougher time to be in business. While it’s encouraging to see so many small businesses confident they can survive this crisis, they will face enormous challenges over the coming months as they work to get back on their feet,” Kate Carnell, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, says.
“What small businesses need right now is our support. The best way to do that is by visiting your local small businesses or shopping online for local products and services. Every dollar spent not only goes to that small business, but to the community as well.”
American Express encourages all Australians to support the movement and ‘shop small’ by placing a focus on where and how they shop.
For more information, visit www.shopsmall.com.au