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FILE PHOTO: People with shopping bags walk along Oxford Street illuminated with Christmas lights in London, Britain, November 13, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Christmas is a ‘lifeline’ for small business owners 

 

 

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business comments on the ongoing, catastrophic impact of the cost of living crisis on SMEs and urges people to deliberately shop locally this Christmas in support of small businesses : 

“Many small businesses will be banking on the upcoming Christmas trading period for a much-needed boost. For more than a third, the festive trading period accounts for over 20% of their annual revenue. 

“Amidst a cost of living crisis, when so many are still in recovery mode from the £126.6 billion impact of the pandemic, this Christmas is – quite simply – a lifeline for small businesses.

“Sole traders and microbusinesses are feeling the pressure from the deteriorating economic climate more than most. With many struggling to pass on rising costs to their customers, they will inevitably feel the squeeze. The rise in inflation is also affecting consumer purchasing behaviour, which is another blow to the pockets of small business owners.


“Small businesses account for 99% of all British businesses, contributing trillions of pounds a year in turnover. The recovery of our economy and communities is directly linked to their success. 

Ahead of Christmas, we’re urging people to spend their money with small businesses. Your purchases will have a direct positive impact on the lives of our country’s self-employed at a time when it’s never been more critical. We should support small businesses all year round, and there’s no better time to start than during this festive period.”

On Christmas trading:

  • Over a third of small businesses make over 20% of their annual income in this crucial festive period
  • Two thirds (60%) of small business owners state a good festive season would be a lifeline for their business, helping to survive the year ahead – with many still recovering extensive losses from the devastating impact of Covid-19
  • Owners say their biggest challenges at Christmas are attracting enough customers (21%) and therefore earning enough to keep their operation alive into the New Year (17%) 

Key findings from Simply Business SME Insights report include:

  • Over half (54%) of SME owners say rising fuel and energy costs are one of their greatest threats to survival 
  • 70% of SME owners also say that rising costs across the board are their biggest challenge this year
  • Small business owners are facing a number of pressing challenges – rising fuel and energy bills, attracting enough customers, and tax and national insurance hikes are all causing a strain
  • Pandemic losses are still widespread – 87% of small business owners lost an average of £20,981 each over the last two years, with many still suffering financially. The total cost of Covid-19 now sits at £109.6 billion – with one in six (16%) believing they will never recover financially from the pandemic