ABS: 72% of businesses suffer COVID-19 revenue falls

COVID-19 has forced 70% of Australian businesses to change how they operate and 72% have suffered revenue declines, according to a new ABS survey:

By employment size, 71% of small businesses (i.e. 0-19 persons employed) reported that revenue had decreased as a result of COVID-19 compared with 78% of medium businesses (i.e. 20-199 persons employed) and 73% of large businesses (i.e. 200 or more persons employed).

Businesses operating under modified conditions were more than twice as likely to report a decrease in revenue compared to those that were operating normally (83% compared with 37%)…

By industry, businesses in Transport, postal and warehousing were the most likely to report a reduction in revenue (95%)…

The largest proportions of businesses that reported operating under modified conditions were in the Information media and telecommunications (96%), Health care and social assistance (93%), Accommodation and food services (92%) and Education and training (91%) industries.

The survey also found that almost three quarters of businesses accessed support measures as a result of COVID-19. This included accessing wage subsidies (55%) and other government support measures (38%)…

Looking ahead, government restrictions are expected to continue to have an effect, with businesses reporting they expect some level of impact from social distancing measures (71%), restrictions on trading (63%) and travel restrictions (50%) in the next two months…

By industry, businesses in Accommodation and food services (75%) and Arts and recreation services (67%) were the most likely to report that trading restrictions are expected to impact the business to a great extent over the next two months. Businesses in these two industries were also the most likely to report that they expect social distancing restrictions to impact the businesses to a great extent over the next two months (50% and 68% respectively)…

Full report here.

Leith van Onselen

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