Tasmania most confident state for SMEs: Sensis report

| November 28, 2018

Despite the fact that Australian small and medium businesses continue to express confidence, the September Quarter 2018 Sensis Business Index showcased a seven-point fall from the nine-year high seen in the June report (+49).

Across the nation, 60% of small businesses (SMBs) feel confident, with the main factors driving this positivity being healthy and growing sales, having a solid, established business as well as identifying specific business strengths. For the 18% who expressed feeling worried, their biggest concerns were financial, primarily due to decreasing sales or cost pressures.

When looking at the economy, SMBs expressed higher confidence than 12-months prior and among the highest levels seen since 2010, despite falling from last quarter. Twenty-eight percent of SMBs nation-wide are confident the economy is growing, while 17% feel its slowing down.

The recent change in Prime Minister from Malcom Turnbull to Scott Morrison made little difference in SMB opinions of the Federal Government, with the net balance unchanged at +3. Of businesses with a favourable assessment of the Federal Government, tax- related reasons drove this opinion, whilst those with a negative response expressed concern around excessive bureaucracy, high taxation and too much focus on big business.

Tasmania overtook the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) when it came to being the most confident state or territory, up two points to +59. ACT lost its top spot by falling five points to +56, followed closely by New South Wales, falling seven points to +49. The Northern Territory came in last, dropping a significant 21 points to +7. Western Australia (down seven points to +22) and South Australia (down 17 points to +28) were the only other locations where confidence levels were below the national average of +42. Queensland sat just above the national average (down four points to +44) while Victoria fell eight points to equal the national average.

When compared with their metro counterparts, SMBs in regional areas felt slightly less confident, although both remained positive (+46 for metro compared with +36 for regional). Contrary to this, metropolitan SMBs were less confident when looking at the economy, down nine points to +9 compared with regional who increased one point to +13.

Finally, all industry sectors once again displayed positive net balances for confidence, although falls were witnessed in seven of 10 sectors. Health and Community Services came in as the most confident sector, rising two points to +56, while Retail Trade once again came in last, falling 18 points to +12. Hospitality saw a jump, up six points to +35, while both Manufacturing and Transport and Storage recorded below average results (+39 and +36 respectively).

Despite a dip in confidence within many areas and industry sectors, the September quarter results showcase a consistent strength for Australian SMBs.

Download the full report here.