Sendle has surveyed Australian small businesses and found they are approaching the new year with anticipation for a growth filled, sustainable 2023.
Sendle has released the results of its annual Small Business Survey. The parcel delivery service surveyed over 900 Australian SMBs on their expectations and sentiments for the year ahead. While its set to be a tumultuous year amid economic downturn and inflation driven cost of living concerns, 80 percent of respondents are forecasting online sales growth in 2023.
The survey reveals that 37 percent of small businesses are forecasting a 25-75 percent growth in online orders over the next 12 months. The Automotive & Marine industry predict the strongest growth in 2023, with 38 percent of small businesses forecasting over 75 percent growth in online orders over the next 12 months. This was closely followed by small businesses in the Office Furniture & Supplies and Food & Beverage industries who forecasted over 75 percent growth in online orders over the next 12 months.
“Sendle’s 2022 Small Business survey tells us that it’s not all doom and gloom for small businesses,” said Laura Hill, Managing Director of Sendle Australia. “The recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales may explain this confidence, with our parcel volumes up 50 percent during the November sales period. Many small businesses continue to see an uptick in online sales growth, as consumer spending remains resilient.”
As expected, the respondents acknowledge that next year will see some challenges. Fifty-one percent of small businesses report that the rising costs of products and services is their top challenge when it comes to online sales growth. However, despite the forecasted challenges that some are already feeling the heat from, small businesses are rising to the challenge. Over half of respondents said they feel satisfied about the support available, which could include government assistance for small-to-medium businesses.
In October, off the back of the Albanese government’s first federal budget, various grants were offered to assist SMBs growth in the next 12 months and beyond. In Victoria, The Small Business Digital Adaptation Program was set up to provide $1200 rebates so small businesses can access a range of digital business tools. The Victorian Government partnered with 14 suppliers to help build or upgrade websites, improve cash flow, start online marketing, manage jobs and projects, and keep better track of stock. Partners included: Ecwid Inc, Mr Yum, MYOB, Shopify, Square, Xero, and Squarespace, among others. This program is one of many in place to support SMBs in the next year. Also included in the budget was $62.6 million in grants to help SMBs become more energy efficient.
Sustainability is a key part of Sendle’s survey. Sendle itself boasts being Australia’s only 100% carbon neutral delivery service and makes regular investments in sustainable practice. The survey identifies sustainability as a critical business practice that is here to stay. Thirty-four percent of respondents say their products are ethically or sustainably sourced. Small businesses in the F&B industry are leading the way, more than half reporting that between 75-100 percent of their products are ethically or sustainably sourced. According to Sendle’s report, sustainability is helping small businesses capture a growing audience that cares about the environment, with 34 percent reporting that demand for locally produced products has increased over the past 12 months.
More companies are embracing the sustainability movement, with 34 percent of respondents reporting that they have implemented more sustainable business practices and products in the past year. However, the survey has revealed that there is a need for education and more support around sustainable practice. While a third of these businesses are reporting ethical and sustainable sourcing, a further 32 percent of small businesses admit that they don’t know whether their products sold are ethically or sustainably sourced.
“Growth is a top priority for small businesses, of course, but what matters is that growth is smart and sustainable,” said Hill. “Small businesses increasingly recognise that sustainable products and practices are not only good for the planet, but also for the bottom line. However, Sendle’s survey reveals that more educational resources are needed for small businesses to make the transition easier and quicker.”
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