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Credit: Sendle

Online sales growth on the horizon for Aussie small businesses in 2023

Despite a bleak economic outlook, 80 per cent of Australian small businesses expect an increase in internet sales over the next 12 months, according to Sendle’s 2022 Small Business Survey. 

The highest growth is anticipated by small businesses in the Automotive & Marine sector in 2023, with 38 per cent of them predicting an increase of over 75 per cent in online orders during the following 12 months.

Small companies in the food and beverage and office furniture & supplies sectors, which predicted over 75 per cent growth in online orders over the following 12 months at 33 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively, closely followed this.

“Sendle’s 2022 Small Business survey tells us that it’s not all doom and gloom for small businesses,” said Laura Hill, Managing Director of Sendle Australia.

“The recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales may explain this confidence, with our parcel volumes up 50 per cent during the November sales period. Many small businesses continue to see an uptick in online sales growth, as consumer spending remains resilient.” 

Nevertheless, small businesses realise that 2019 will be a much tougher year than 2022. Cost of living constraints and growing inflation are casting a shadow over the future; according to 51 per cent of small businesses, this is their biggest obstacle to expanding their online sales. 

Comparatively, 22 per cent of respondents said their biggest business issue was getting clients. Despite high and probably persistent inflation and the 2023 predicted global economic recession, small firms are rising to the occasion.

More than half (51 per cent) of those surveyed expressed satisfaction with the help offered, which may include government backing for small- to medium-sized firms.

“Growth is a top priority for small businesses, of course, but what matters is that growth is smart and sustainable,” said Laura.

“Small businesses increasingly recognise that sustainable products and practices are good for the planet and the bottom line. 

“However, the survey reveals that more educational resources are needed for small businesses to make the transition easier and quicker.”

Sustainability on top of mind

Sustainability is a critical business practice here to stay, with 55 per cent of respondents selling locally-made products. Over a third, (34 per cent) of respondents say their products are ethically or sustainably sourced.

Small businesses in the Food & Beverage industry are leading the way, with one in two (51 per cent) reporting that 75-100 per cent of their products are ethically or sustainably sourced. This is closely followed by small businesses in Jewellery & Accessories and Baby & Children sectors, at 48 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively. 

Sustainability is helping small businesses capture a growing audience that cares about the environment, with 34 per cent reporting that demand for locally produced products has increased over the past 12 months.

More companies realise the benefits for their companies and the environment, with 34 per cent of respondents reporting that they have implemented more sustainable business practices and products. 

Despite the growing interest in sustainability, awareness and knowledge gaps exist. A third (32 per cent) of small businesses admit to not knowing whether the products they sell are ethically or sustainably sourced. 

Many people need help to overcome barriers to implementing sustainable practices, with 32 per cent of respondents saying they still need to change their business model or products. 

When comparing where small businesses are in their sustainability journey across industries, small businesses in the Toys, Hobbies & Games, Automotive & Marine, and Clothing & Footwear sectors are more likely to report that they have made no changes to their business model and products.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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