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Who’s getting the message?

Lockdown 2020 and looking ahead to 2021

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So, while the resourcefulness and versatility of many SMEs has enabled them to adapt to meet the unanticipated constraints of Covid-19, what does the future have in store? With some form of social distancing and more waves of lockdown likely to be in force well into 2021 and with different rules in place across the country, we wanted to see how optimistic businesses feel for the year to come.

Feeling prepared for a new wave

Interestingly and encouragingly there’s still lots of positivity amongst SMEs, with 71% saying they felt more prepared for what’s to come, with 60% feeling certain that their business would be able to survive another lockdown. It could be that the new services and offerings provided as they’ve been pivoting since March this year, with the addition of improved digital communication with customers has helped these businesses to feel more positive for the future, however uncertain that may be.

Only 3% of SMEs didn’t feel prepared for the months to come, jumping to nearly a quarter (24%) for 2021. 17% are concerned their business may not make it through the increased intensity of an additional lockdown, showing that while the majority have felt able to adapt to succeed through more intense lockdowns, some businesses and industries are simply unable to shift to meet these changing needs.

How optimistic are you about the success of your business for the rest of 2020?

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Optimistic for 2021

In general, however, the future looks bright – 65% of SMEs noted feeling optimistic about the success of their business for the rest of 2020, uplifting to 71% as we move into 2021.  Of our key sectors, the automotive industry in particular felt confident, with 83% of those surveyed saying they felt the next year looked promising, with trades (82%) and hair and beauty (78%) industries also showing optimism. Domestic (69%) and professional services (61%) were the least positive of the key industries we surveyed, with their positivity levels tracking below the national average.

In summary

Despite major uncertainty and shifting regional rules, SMEs are still hopeful that their businesses will be able to weather the Covid-19 storm and thrive into the new year. Their extra resourcefulness and tenacity is paying off in creating more confidence for the future.

We have seen many of our customers embrace new ways of working since the pandemic hit, and we’re also working hard at Yell to support them by providing the right digital tools to help make this easier for them, from Instant Messaging on business listings to embeddable website widgets to enable features such as WhatsApp messaging and Zoom calls.
Claire Miles, CEO of Yell

Survey methodology

1,006 SME owners and 2,009 consumers surveyed in September 2020 by Censuswide on behalf of Yell Business.

Download SME survey data

Download Consumer survey data