Manufacturing sector most likely to be predicting growth in the next three months

assets/files/images/12_05_22/bigstock-Futuristic-Raise-Arrow-With-Ba-346494934.jpg

Nationally, 37% of small business owners predict growth for the next three months, the highest figure since the pandemic started more than two-years ago. The new quarterly data from Novuna Business Finance also reveals that the percentage of small businesses predicting contraction has also hit a two-year low (falling to just 7%).

Despite inflation rising to its highest level in 30 years - plus the impact of war in Ukraine on fuel prices - the new tracking data from Novuna Business Finance suggests we are beginning to see the bounce-back after Covid restrictions fell away in the UK earlier this year.

Around the country, the quarterly poll of 1,196 small business owners revealed that 5% of predicted significant expansion for the three-months to 30 June, with 32% predicting sustained organic growth. While 46% of respondents envisaged no change on the previous quarter, 7% of business owners predicted contraction and a further 7% feared collapse.

Significantly, small businesses that had been most affected by the pandemic were those that now see the biggest return in confidence for the future. For example:

  • Small business owners that had been forced to repurpose their enterprise during lockdown are now most likely to be those on the rise - with 41% of these business owners predicting growth for the next three months, a steep rise from 27% last quarter.
  • Those enterprises that had been forced to close during lockdown are also now bouncing back, with the proportion predicting growth up to 28% (rising from 20% last quarter).
  • In contrast, for businesses whose operating status was not impacted by Covid - or who continue to work from home - for these enterprises, growth forecasts remain unchanged on the previous quarter.

Operational status during the pandemic by percentage of businesses predicting growth

Q2 2020

(start of pandemic)

Q1 2022

Q2 2022

Re-purpose business, offer & services

15%

27%

41%

Forced to temporarily shut down

7%

20%

28%

Open but worked from home

31%

37%

36%

Unaffacted by lockdown

31%

39%

41%

By sector, the latest Novuna Business Finance data suggests there was a significant rise in growth forecasts for small businesses in the hospitality sector (41%) - a welcome boost for a sector decimated by the pandemic and banking on a seasonal boom as summer approaches. There were also signs of growing confidence from enterprises in the agricultural sector (25%). For both these sectors, the percentage of business owners predicting growth has now fully returned to pre-pandemic levels.

For small businesses in finance and accounting, legal, transport and distribution - more small business owners predicted growth for the next three months than was the case last quarter. 

Regionally, there were also signs the Government's levelling up strategy could also be working. Across seven UK regions more small businesses were going into the spring and summer predicting growth and opportunity for their enterprises. The exception here was Scotland, where the percentage of businesses predicting growth has fallen.

Jo Morris, Head of Insight at Novuna Business Finance commented: "There is no question that many small businesses have been tangibly impacted by price rises, which directly impact the bottom line and supply chain. That said, it is important not to forget the seismic risks that enterprises had to cope with during the pandemic. Many had to close their doors, others had to fundamentally reinvent their business to survive - and we, at Novuna Business Finance helped many enterprises to adapt at this critical time. Those that experienced the most pain during lockdown are the small businesses that are forging ahead today. And it has taken six months since COVID restrictions fell away for us now to finally see the resilience of small businesses and their power to rebuild and recover."

Percentage of small business owners that predict net growth by sector:

Quarterly findings and comparisons to the start of the pandemic

 

Q2

2020

(start of pandemic)

Q1

2022

Q2

2022

Hospitality & leisure

16%

29%

41%

Manufacturing

8%

46%

40%

IT & telecoms

21%

40%

40%

Finance & accounting

11%

35%

39%

Media & marketing

15%

52%

38%

Real estate

7%

24%

35%

Legal

10%

29%

35%

Transport & distribution

10%

27%

31%

Construction

12%

36%

29%

Retail

20%

23%

25%

Agriculture

19%

23%

25%

 

Percentage of small business owners that predict net growth by region:

Quarterly findings and comparisons to the start of the pandemic

 

 

Q2

2020

(start of pandemic)

Q1

2022

Q2

2022

London

19%

46%

49% (+3)

North East

14%

44%

41% (-3)

East

14%

44%

40% (-4)

East Midlands

14%

30%

40% (+10)

West Midlands

14%

33%

36% (+3)

Yorkshire / Humber

15%

39%

34% (-5)

North West

15%

28%

33% (+5)

Wales

3%

27%

33% (+6)

South West

11%

32%

32% (-)

South East

12%

27%

31% (+4)

Scotland

7%

35%

28% (-7)

The research was conducted by YouGov among a representative sample of 1,196 small business decision makers during the first week of April 2022, spanning all key industry sectors.

Add a Comment

No messages on this article yet

Editorial: +44 (0)1892 536363
Publisher: +44 (0)208 440 0372
Subscribe FREE to the weekly E-newsletter