In the face of unprecedented challenges, the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) and Square Australia have jointly unveiled their illuminating 2023 Small Business Data Report. This comprehensive analysis delves into the struggles and triumphs of Australia’s small business sector against the backdrop of a turbulent economic landscape.
Luke Achterstraat, the CEO of COSBOA, emphasised the report’s role in shedding light on the harsh realities confronting small businesses throughout 2023. Operational hurdles, dynamic market entries and exits, coupled with the impacts of rising interest rates, inflation, and cost of living pressures, have created a complex environment for these enterprises and their clientele.
Highlighting the vital role played by small businesses in the Australian economy, the report indicates that these entities contribute approximately 42% of private-sector employment and contribute one-third of the gross value. With 97.5% of all businesses falling into this category, comprising roughly 2.5 million entities, they generate a substantial $500 billion in economic activity, constituting a significant one-third of Australia’s GDP.
Achterstraat underscored the symbiotic relationship between the performance of small businesses and the overall health of the Australian economy. “If small businesses are doing well, then the Australian economy is doing well too,” he stated.
However, the report also reveals a noteworthy slowdown in consumer spending, accompanied by discernible shifts in consumer behaviours. While most industries still exhibit year-on-year sales growth, the pace has moderated compared to the post-COVID boom experienced in 2021 and 2022.
The 2023 Small Business Data Report serves as a crucial resource for policymakers, offering valuable insights into the challenges faced by small businesses and their implications for future economic strategies. As Australia’s small business sector grapples with multifaceted challenges, this report stands as a testament to the resilience and determination of these enterprises, providing a roadmap for navigating the complex economic terrain.
For more insights, access the full report here.