What was the business impact of Covid-19 on Irish SMEs?

More than 70pc of Irish SMEs saw their turnover decrease in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, new data from the Central Statistics Office reveals.

The Central Statistics Office business impact report indicates that 25pc of SME firms saw turnover fall by more than 50pc in 2020 compared with 2019.

Among responding enterprises, 56pc reported closing at some point during the pandemic in 2020.

“Almost a quarter of respondents saw turnover fall by more than half in the year and about 40pc saw their turnover decrease by between 10pc and 50pc.”

Respondents in the professional & IT sectors reported 79pc of staff working either fully or partially remotely, compared to a figure of 46pc reported by respondents across all sectors.

The cost of Covid-19

Infographic showing cost of Covid-19 on Irish SMEs.

Companies said they spent almost 70pc of their 2020 COVID-19 spend on measures to comply with requirements for trading

The online survey was sent to a sample of 8,000 businesses and the information was collected in the first quarter of 2021. The response rate to the survey was 24pc

“The results show that more than 70pc of responding SMEs reported a decrease in turnover in 2020 compared to 2019,” said CSO statistician Sorcha O’Callaghan.

“Almost a quarter of respondents saw turnover fall by more than half in the year and about 40pc saw their turnover decrease by between 10pc and 50pc.

More than half of responding enterprises took steps to change their mode of operation due to the pandemic. Of these, 14pc developed an online presence. The most common changes reported were developing an online presence, increasing operating hours and developing new products.

Among responding enterprises, 56pc reported closing at some point during the pandemic in 2020. More than four in ten responding enterprises (43pc) reported closing multiple times during the pandemic in 2020. Multiple closures were most prevalent in the Services sec

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 3 June 2021

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