A third of businesses will face challenges paying bills

Media Release

More than a third (35%) of Australian businesses expect to find it difficult or very difficult to meet financial commitments over the next three months, according to the latest results from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The Business Impacts of COVID-19 Survey found that small businesses were almost twice as likely to report that they expected to find it difficult or very difficult compared to large businesses (35% compared to 18%).

ABS Head of Industry Statistics, John Shepherd said: “41 per cent of businesses reported that revenue had fallen over the last month and 22 per cent had an increase in operating expenses.

“In addition, 28 per cent of businesses expected a decrease in revenue over the next month.”

The survey also includes insights about how business expenditure on capital has changed over the last three months.

Mr Shepherd said: “Almost a quarter of businesses (23 per cent) reported they had decreased or cancelled their actual or planned capital expenditure compared to three months earlier.

“Businesses reported that their decisions related to expenditure on capital were significantly influenced by uncertainty about the future state of the economy (59 per cent), and future expected customer demand for their products or services (40 per cent).”

This survey is part of a series of additional products the ABS is releasing to measure the economic impact of COVID-19. Data was collected between 12 August and 19 August. Further information is available in Business Indicators, Business Impacts of COVID-19 (Cat. No. 5676.0.55.003).

The ABS thanks all those who contributed data to this release.

Media notes

  • The additional ABS products published to understand the economic impact of COVID-19 can be found on a dedicated page on the ABS website.
  • A small business is one with 0-19 employees; a medium business has 20-199 employees; and a large business more than 200 employees.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact ABS Media at media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our email notification service and get media releases or products sent to you on release.
Back to top of the page