Covid-19 crisis takes a very heavy financial toll on UK small businesses

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The Coronavirus crisis has already cost UK SMEs an average £277,893 each and 64% expect their revenues to decrease by half in coming months, according to a nationwide survey released today by Fiverr.

The study, conducted amongst 1,000 SME owners and decision makers in 19 cities across the UK, also found that 58% have turned to freelancers to help manage their remote workload since the crisis took hold.

Despite the gloomy economic outlook, 68% are said to be feeling more optimistic about remote working since Government social distancing measures have been in place. 

Positive future

The data also reveals 61% of SME leaders believe the Government is handling the Covid-19 crisis well. This is tempered by the fact that 37% of respondents who felt unprepared for the crisis blamed the Government.

The survey also offers insight into the different ways the top ten featured cities (Manchester, London, Newcastle, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds and Exeter) are coping with the crisis.

Manchester uses online freelancer marketplaces more than any other city, with 72% of SMEs buying into remote work practices, which was more than any city surveyed. Meanwhile, 66% of Londoners listed the flexibility of enforced remote working as a positive thing.

Some 84% of SME owners in Bristol said they felt more connected to their families as a result of the lockdown, and 57% feel more connected to employees, more than any other city. However, Newcastle was the UK’s most underprepared city with 64% of SMEs in the north east city having felt quite or completely unprepared.

Down in Exeter, SMEs are said to be the UK’s most optimistic, as 68% felt upbeat about their future prospects once the Covid-19 crisis has passed.

It has also been possible to rank all the cities (with a minimum 50 respondents) in terms of how well they’ve adapted to remote working conditions, by ordering them according to the percentage of respondents who claimed productivity has increased as a result of remote working. 

The survey data gives a number of hints about what the future might hold for UK SMEs, including the revealing statistic that 29% of UK SMEs plan to increase flexible working post-Covid-19. And, many are hoping to fight through the economic downturn, with 50% investing in digital and traditional marketing in response to the crisis.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.