Consumer Demand Will Aid Growth In 2015, Say SMEs

Energy Prices And Extreme Weather Are Main Concerns For New Year


Fergal Dowling, Partner | +44 (0)121 214 5476

Nearly half of British SMEs think consumer demand will help them to grow in 2015, while over a third think improvements in technology will extend their reach, according to a new survey from Barclays.

Decision-makers of small firms were polled on the impact of a number of factors on their business growth in the New Year.

Around a quarter of those polled believed overseas opportunities would enable growth in 2015, while 16% banked on new payment technology.

"2014 has been the strongest year for small business growth since the recession and with consumer confidence increasing slowly, small businesses will no doubt welcome the growth prospects that 2015 has in store," said Rebecca McNeil, Head of SME Lending and Enterprise at Barclays.

Despite the generally positive sentiment, 30% of companies worried that oil and gas price increases would hinder growth, and a similar proportion thought extreme weather will hurt businesses in 2015.

Compliance with employment regulations (14%) and EU regulations (13%) were also identified as concerns.

Expert Opinion
It is interesting to see the key factors that small businesses believe will be integral to their growth across 2015. While many have their hopes pinned on demand, it is unsurprising that many feel technology holds the key to their future success.

"Online payment systems and services are vital to so many SMEs and place them on a level playing field with larger competitors, but it is important that smaller firms recognise the need to comply with key regulations around digital services. An issue of particular importance is the storing of data and the protection of such information, as failures to meet responsibilities in this regard could have a major impact."
Fergal Dowling, Partner