SME Featured ANZ

Profits fall for New Zealand SMEs in first quarter of 2021

New Zealand – For the first months of 2021, small and medium enterprises in New Zealand have reported a decline in their profitability with 36% stating a downturn, according to the latest business monitor by professional services MYOB. 

The statistics reflect the three months prior to March 2021, with 12% of those surveyed admitting profits had reduced by ‘a lot’, while still a significant percent – 20% – have reported that profitability has also improved since the start of 2021.

Despite this, SMEs in the region are showing quite the optimism with over one in five or 22% expecting an improvement in profitability onto the coming quarter. This is in line with New Zealand SMEs having a similar sentiment on revenues. 

The same report showed that more than a quarter or 27% of SMEs in the country are forecasting a slight increase in revenue over the next 12 months despite the unpredictable year when the pandemic first emerged. 

After a number of lockdowns, SMEs based in Auckland have seen the most significant impact on their bottom line over a 12-month period to March 2021, with 44% of SME operators in the country’s largest center reporting a fall in revenue. In comparison, businesses in Christchurch fared better than the national average, with 35% reporting reduced revenue over this time, while nearly half or 48% of Wellington-based SMEs said their revenue had remained the same and 38% saw income fall.

Meanwhile, a big percentage of those surveyed – 41% – expect to generate the same level of revenue across the next 12 months, while 25% expect their income to fall.

Current statistics are an increase in positive sentiment where in last year’s report, 40% of SME operators expected their revenue to be down in 12 months’ time, with 21% predicting their revenue would increase.

MYOB SME Senior Sales Manager Krissy Sadler-Bridge said that overall, findings are a solid turnaround for “hard-working” SMEs. Considering the past 12 months when the SMEs had to endure the pandemic blow, Sadler-Bridge believes local business owners should be congratulated for not just hanging on but also finding hard-won opportunities amid some of the most challenging trading conditions the times have seen. 

On profitability meanwhile, she commented, “When a business makes a profit, they may have the funds to develop their business further, hire more employees or increase employee benefits, or for some SME-owners, pay themselves a solid wage – making profitability a key measure of progress for the sector.”