Small business growth outlook increases

The latest research from our Business Barometer survey has found that small business growth forecasts have increased. Nationally, 36% of small businesses say they are predicting growth, while less respondents (7%) say they fear collapse.

Our study found that growth forecasts have finally returned to pre-Covid levels, with the increase in owners predicting growth the highest quarter-on-quarter rise for four years. This comes at a time when lockdown restrictions start to ease and the vaccine roll out continues, suggesting that business owner confidence is returning.

We found that the sector where most small business owners predicted growth for the next three months was media and marketing - up sharply from 36% to 55% since January 2020. Other sectors showing increased growth forecasts were retail (up from 19% to 33%), construction (up from 16% to 34%) and leisure/hospitality (up from 9% to 28%).

Agriculture was the only industry sector where growth forecasts failed to rise on last quarter – here growth outlook for the next three-months remained unchanged at 22%.

Regionally, small businesses in London, Yorkshire and the South East were most likely to predict growth for the three months to 30 June.

(The research was conducted by YouGov among a representative sample of 1,306 small business decision makers between 24 March and 1 April 2021 spanning industry sectors).