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- SMEs’ turnover and capital expenditure both showed a definite decline in 2020, as did numbers employed albeit to a lesser extent
SMEs reported a sharp fall this year in both their turnover (balance of opinion at -48 compared with +25 at the end of 2019) and their capital expenditure (with the indicator reporting amounts invested at -21, down 28 points in one year). The correction on employees appears more limited (balance of opinion at -7), in particular thanks to the substantial use made by SMEs of the short-time working scheme.
- Most SMEs believe they are in a position to overcome the financial difficulties encountered
Despite the significant impact of the crisis on SMEs’ financial situations and the introduction of the second lockdown, 53% of them report that their cash flow is sufficient to cope, once their use of support mechanisms is included (49% in June). However, 3% of business owners believe the cash flow difficulties brought about by the crisis are insurmountable. This proportion is however 9% in tourism.
- For most recipients, state-guaranteed loans are still largely not used, and at this stage still constitute a substantial resource for use in addressing the recovery
Of those SMEs having taken out a loan, 35% say they have spent little or none of it. Half of the SMEs that are loan recipients are planning to repay at least part of it in 2021, while 6% of the managing directors surveyed fear they will not be in a position to repay it.
- The second wave of the epidemic seems to have delayed economic recovery without actually jeopardising it, and a return to normality is expected from the second half of 2021
The indicator on the future outlook for business has itself recovered since the spring, despite the second lockdown, but remains below its usual level. A quick return to business as normal is anticipated by 35% of SMEs (unchanged from April). This proportion does vary from sector to sector, with just 13% in tourism SMEs, compared with 48% in construction, the most optimistic sector. The majority of managing directors see a return to normal levels of business either during or after the second half of 2021.
- The outlooks for recruitment and investment are continuing to recover despite the second lockdown
Of those business owners who reported having recruitment plans before the crisis, 58% are intending to keep them in place, a proportion that is distinctly higher compared with the June half-yearly survey (43%). 27% anticipate postponing their recruitment plans, mostly by less than a year. As regards the business owners who had investment plans, 51% are intending to keep them in place (versus 41% in June).
- 65 % : share of SMEs predicting a drop in turnover of 10% of more in 2020 as a result of the public health crisis
- 41 % : share of SMEs stating they had, or planned to, invest this year
- 35 % : share of SMEs that believe their cash resources are sufficient to cope with the crisis
- 58 % : proportion of SMEs that had made recruitment plans that intend to keep them in place
- 60 % : proportion of SMEs anticipating a return to business as normal in H2 2021 or after
Content of the survey
- Revenue and employment
- Financial situation, access to credit and capital expenditure
- Outlook for 2021