Many UK SMEs see a light at the end of the tunnel after the short-term gloom

UK’s SMEs are set to see their revenue fall a combined 28% in the second quarter of the year due to the global pandemic, with almost 75% of businesses expecting it to have a significant impact for the next 3 months.

According to new data from Barclaycard’s quarterly SME barometer, sentiment at such firms has dropped 31 points this quarter, to 79 out of a possible 200. Any score below 100 indicates negative sentiment. 

In addition, 82% of all SMEs said that the pandemic and lockdowns had had a negative impact on their business, with 73% saying they expected that to continue.

However, the data showed that despite the short-term gloom and doom, the majority of businesses still remain optimistic about the future.

Only 1 in 5 of the firms think that the pandemic will still have a negative impact in a year’s time, a figure that drops to eight per cent a year later.

In addition, in the short term, Barclaycard found that the number of SMEs taking payments had increased 24 per cent since early April.

Backing up their claims of confidence, nearly two-thirds – 64 per cent – of such businesses are planning to invest in their own operations over the next year.

Konrad Kelling, head of small business acquiring at Barclaycard, said: “It’s encouraging to see small and medium-sized businesses starting to come online again as we emerge from lockdown.  

“While we don’t expect an overnight recovery, the resilience and perseverance of small businesses gives us optimism as we look towards the next 12 to 24 months”.

To compile the data, YouGov polled 576 members of staff at SMEs on Barclaycard’s behalf between 1-21 April.

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