Six in 10 Singapore businesses are in survival mode: survey

·2-min read
(PHOTOS: American Express)
The Closet Lover, ASTONS, Ka-Soh Restaurants (from left) are participating businesses in the 2021 Shop Small campaign. (PHOTOS: American Express)

SINGAPORE — About six in 10 Singapore businesses are in survival mode, with new waves of COVID-19 cases being their main challenge, according to a report by American Express.

About 41 per cent of respondents said they had thought about closing their business from January to August 2021 due to the pandemic volatility, according to insights from American Express' second "Shop Small Business Recovery Research for Singapore" report.

The survey was conducted online with 300 business leaders for businesses with a physical presence in Singapore and an annual revenue of S$100 million or less from 23 July to 5 August 2021. 

However, most businesses remain cautiously optimistic about the future. Almost 67 per cent of respondents expect 2021 annual sales to increase compared to pre-pandemic annual sales in 2019. This is improvement from the 53 percent recorded in 2020. 

The top reasons cited for their optimism are the increase in revenue from expanding their businesses online, support from new customers, and continued support from regular customers.

"While local businesses are more optimistic after almost two years since the pandemic started, its volatility weighs heavily on business leaders’ minds, including ours," Ho Yat-Wai, country manager at American Express Singapore, said. "The recent spike in cases is an example of the fluidity of the situation and difficulty in planning."

About 71 per cent of respondents shared they are optimistic they can thrive in the new normal—with 76 per cent having made adjustments to sustain their business in the next 12 months. The top two changes businesses plan to make in the new normal are to focus more on e-commerce and communicate more with customers via social media.

To support local businesses, American Express cardmembers will get S$3 back for every S$10 spent at over 3,000 participating shops, up to five times, from 5 October to 5 November. 

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