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A stop start recovery – what Xero’s Small Business Insights show us

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Rachael Powell

Sep 13, 2020

During Xero On Air, we were very pleased to release our Xero Small Business Insights special report: Pandemic Insights: Small Business Experience. The report highlights the economic impact of the pandemic on small businesses in some of our key markets.

The findings of the report are based on a sample of over 300,000 Xero subscribers’ anonymised and aggregated records and show the effect of COVID-19 on small business revenues and jobs in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

With small businesses accounting for over 90 percent of all businesses and 50% of global GDP, knowing how to support their recovery is incredibly important, and these rich insights mean we can give the sector a voice at this critical time.

The impact of COVID-19 on small businesses is being keenly felt around the world, and it wasn’t surprising to learn that small business was twice as badly hit as big business.

In fact, following the March lockdown New Zealand experienced the largest revenue fall of 40 percent, but has since seen recovery. And at peak, Australian small businesses had the largest job losses at 12 percent.

We’ve learned that manufacturing is leading the recovery, with revenue growth of between 1 percent and 13 percent across Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

And the benefits of digitally-enabling your business are more apparent than ever – for those small businesses already working in the cloud the shift to remote working was easier, the sale of online goods grew and those connected with apps were more resilient – their revenues were not as hard hit and they were able to better retain staff.

It was also heartening to hear the stories behind the numbers too when we featured two businesses in the report. Located in Australia and the UK respectively, both Oliver’s Taranga and M.Manze Pie and Mash have weathered the storms of more than a century in business, including the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918. Their stories of resilience and adaptation are fascinating and inspirational.

While we’re yet to learn exactly what recovery will look like, these insights are going to be critical in informing government economic policy over the coming months.

Download the report today, and if you missed the episode, you can watch it here.

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