SMEs around the world are the backbone of national and local economies. They provide employment, stimulate domestic and international trade and produce goods and services used every day.
While global inflation has started to show signs of easing, rising costs, interest rates and payment practices continue to provide a difficult trading environment for SMEs around the world.
To find out in greater depth the extent to which today’s environment is impacting SMEs across different regions, in Q2 we spoke with more than 1,800 business owners and decision makers in Europe and Asia. The results of this research underpin our Global Business Monitor 2023.
“Today, business owners are battling with a cost-of-doing-business crisis on two-fronts: significantly higher costs and monetary policy leveraged to tackle this primary issue. The fact that so many are positive about their own prospects in the face of these challenges is testament to the ingenuity and determination of SME owners around the world.”Jonathan Andrew, CEO of Bibby Financial Services
- 42% of SMEs say 2023 is worse than the pandemic, and more than a quarter (28%) believe trading conditions are more damaging than during the wake of the global financial crisis.
- Supply-chain pressure, inflation and cashflow continue to hamper SMEs they grapple with the cost-of-doing-business crisis.
- Despite challenges, 85% believe their own prospects for the remainder of 2023 are strong.
- More than half (51%) say customers are taking longer to pay than in 2022, and a similar proportion say they are being forced to pass on higher costs to customers (50%)
The global picture
- In the Republic of Ireland, SMEs are hugely optimistic with 90% saying they feel confident about their prospects.
- Conversely, over a fifth (21%) of Polish SMEs lack confidence in their outlook for the remainder of this year.
- German SMEs are the most bullish in their trading expectations, with 75% anticipating that sales will grow over the coming months.
- In the UK and the Netherlands, there is greater caution, with 54% predicting only a slight increase in sales.
What is the Global Business Monitor?
The Global Business Monitor is an international survey of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) across Europe and Asia, conducted by Critical Research on behalf of Bibby Financial Services.
Approximately 1,800 SME owners and decision makers were surveyed across nine countries in Q2 2023.