Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Business Confidence Survey, Sponsored by Bronze Partners, Red Hot Business Coaching & Consulting
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Key Findings from the October 2022 Business Confidence Survey
Shifts in Business Confidence for the Next 3-month & 6-Month Periods.
There continues to be shift in how businesses feel about their future outlook. Changes in business confidence are most notable for the next 3 months. There are some improvements in how some businesses were feeling the next 3 and 6 month periods.
- 34.15% of businesses feel things will be moderately better in the next 3 months. This is a significant change and improvement of +23.76% from the June 22 survey.
- 43.90% of the business feel things will be the same in the next 3 months. This is a decline of -8.05% from just under 53% in June 22
- 35% of businesses consider things will be moderately better (25%) or substantially better (10%) in the next 6 months. This is a significant improvement of +11.31% compared to June 2022
- 27.50% of businesses consider things will be moderately worse (25%) or substantially worse (2.50%) in the next 6-months. This is a significant decrease of -14.61% compared
All Cost Pressures Are Now of Major Concern for Businesses
The cost of doing business dominates the landscape for the Business Owners, CEO’s and General Managers that completed the survey. The cost areas that dominate the landscape for these businesses include:
- Rising inflation – over half the businesses (52.38%) indicated this was a barrier to improving confidence
- Cost of goods and services to run your business, i.e. petrol/diesel – 42.86% of businesses said these costs were affecting their confidence
- Rising interest rates – 35.71% of business said these costs were affecting their confidence
- Exchanges rates / Level of the NZ dollar – 30.95%.
Labour Issues and Finding Staff Remain Significant Problems for Businesses but Appear To Be Softening
Labour shortages are still very much on the mind of businesses who completed this survey with 42.86% of businesses still seeing issues with labour and finding the right staff. However, this indicator is also falling with 10.39% of businesses completing this survey feeling like this is less of an issue compared to June 2022. This is the first significant fall we have seen in this indicator in over 12 months.
Indications from businesses are that there is some softening in the labour market, particularly for skilled specialists, and low-skilled workers. However, overall more businesses continue to indicate they expect it will be hard to find all types of employees.
COVID-19 – Impacts and Challenges
The impact of COVID-19 has reduced significantly in this survey. No (0%) of businesses feel that COVID-19 is a factor from a health perspective, and there has been a significant decline (-9.30%) in how businesses feel COVID-19 might affect them from an economic perspective.
Supply Chain Issues Are Still a Concern But There Has Been A Reduction
There has been softening of what businesses expect around supply chain challenges.
Whilst businesses (45%) are still highly or very highly concerned this is lower by just over 15%. More businesses are expecting the outlook to be the same. The number of businesses that are expecting the outlook to be less concerning is now 25% which is a small increase of 2.64%.
Key Findings from the June 2022 Business Confidence Survey
Significant Decline in Business Confidence for Next 3-month & 6-Month Periods.
Businesses responding to the survey have indicated a significant movement in business confidence compared to March 2022. There have been major changes in both the 3-month and 6-month confidence with movement away from feeling moderately or substantially better, to moderately and substantially worse:
* There has been a shift overall of 19.5% in how businesses are feeling in the 3-month period with the swing from moderately better to moderately worse
* There has been a shift of around 30% in how businesses are feeling in the 6-month period with a major shift from substantially and moderately better -14.1% to moderately and significantly worse +15.4%
* 52% of the businesses feel things will be the same in the next 3-months and 35.6% feel things will be the same in 6-months. This is relatively similar to March 2022.
Rising Inflation Now the Number One Concern for Our Businesses
Rising inflation is now the number one concern for the business community in the Hutt Valley with over 55% of businesses seeing this as an issue that is affecting their business confidence. Rising inflation has quickly become a significant challenge from a cost and impact perspective. This factor affecting businesses has risen by +14.5% over the last 3-months. Rising interest rates and the cost of goods and services to run a business ensure that these costs are a key focus for the business community.
Labour Issues and Finding Staff Remain Significant Problems for Businesses
Labour shortages continue to be identified as a significant issue for businesses. Close to 60% say that finding staff is their biggest barrier to their business confidence. Close to 60% say that they expect it to be harder to find skilled employees and over 40% say it will be harder to find low-skilled employees. Finding talent is expected to continue to impede business success in the Hutt Valley.
COVID-19 – Impacts and Challenges
The impact of the challenge of COVID-19 has started to decline. It does continue to be a challenge with around 41% of businesses feeling things will be moderate to substantially worse but this has declined from previous surveys and significantly more businesses now feel that things will be the same in the coming months. This shift is an improvement from previous surveys; however, COVID-19 continues to be a factor for businesses.
Supply Chain Issues are Continuing to have an Impact
Businesses that are importing and exporting have continued to experience supply chain issues with rising costs, product and material shortages, and significant shipping / freighting delays. There is growing concern among businesses over the delays in international supply chains, with over 46% saying this issue is a major challenge for their business. Over 60% of businesses are indicating they have high concerns that the current international supply chains are affecting their business.
Key Findings from the March 2022 Business Confidence Survey
Businesses indicate a similar outlook for the next 3 and 6-month periods.
Businesses responding to the survey have indicated that they expect the situation to be the same for their businesses over the next 3 and 6-months. The same outlook is not a positive one for businesses as this means they will continue to experience significant challenges. Indications are that:
• 50% of the business feel things will be the same in the next 3 months.
• 35.6% of the business feel things will be the same over the next 6 months. This is an increase of 5.05% from the December 2021 survey
Whilst Covid-19 and labour shortages remain significant impediments to improving the business confidence, two new areas of issue have been identified in this survey. They are rising inflation and the cost of goods and services to run a business. The uncertainty around the impact of current government policies has remained high for the business community across the Hutt Valley as has the impact of Covid-19.
Rising inflation and the cost of goods and services to run their business are extremely concerning for businesses and driving decisions
Whilst labour shortages and the ongoing impact of Covid 19 are still significant issues affecting business confidence the impacts of rising inflation and the costs of goods and services to run their business have been identified as areas of significant concern. These two new categories are identified as two of the top five issues affecting business confidence and are likely to drive decisions by businesses to increase the selling price of their products as their costs rise.
Labour Issues and finding staff remain significant problems for businesses
Labour shortages continue to be identified as a significant issue for businesses. Half of the businesses say that finding staff is their biggest barrier to their business confidence. Close to 60% say that they expect it to be harder to find skilled employees and over 40% say it will be harder to find low skilled employees. With limited immigration finding talent is expected to continue to impede business success.
Covid 19 – Impacts and Challenges
Whilst improving, Covid-19 continues to be a driver of lower confidence. Whilst there has been an improvement from previous surveys Covid-19 continues to be top of mind for businesses
Supply Chain Issues are continuing to have an impact
Businesses that are importing and exporting have continued to experience supply chain issues with rising costs, product and material shortages, and significant delays. There is growing concern among businesses over the delays in international supply chains, with 53.19% of businesses indicating they have high or very high concerns that will impact their business.
Key Findings from the June 2021 Business Confidence Survey
Barriers to Improving Confidence
- Covid-19 and labour shortages remain the two biggest impediments to improving confidence. It should also be noted that the uncertainty around the impact of current government policies and supply issues are also of significant concern for the businesses across the Hutt Valley.
Finding Staff for the Last 12 months
- Labour shortages are identified as a significant issue for businesses.
Covid 19 – Impacts and Challenges
- Covid -19 continues to be a significant conversation with businesses across the region. Around 45% of business consider Covid-19 to be a higher risk to their business. However, the majority of businesses (77%) do not consider their business is at risk of closure as a result of Covid-19.
Impacts of Climate Change on Business
- Over half of businesses (54%) felt that their business will be affected by climate change impacts (such as flooding frequency, higher insurance premiums) in the future?
- Whilst most businesses (90%) are not taking active steps to measure their own emissions. However they do have a range of ideas and plans on tackling emissions including actions on energy efficiency and electrification of their vehicle fleet.
Key Findings from the April/May 2021 Business Confidence Survey
- Business confidence is increasing and local businesses see improvements in the next 6‑12 months
- COVID-19 economic impacts, growing concern around government policy and labour shortages are holding businesses back nationally
- There is growing inflationary pressure on business, as more than half of businesses show increasing costs in the last three months, with half expecting to increase their selling price within a year.
- The road network is by far and away the single largest mode of transport for local employees to get to and from work. Employees come from all over the region and for the majority, public transport is not a preferred mode of transport.
- Supply chain concerns exist for three quarters of all businesses.
- Pressure continues for business across a wide range of areas of operation.
Key Findings from the November 2020 Business Confidence Survey
- Local businesses are expecting 12 months of clawing back what COVID-19 has cost them (assuming no further lockdowns)
- 72% see the economic impacts of COVID-19 as the biggest barrier to business in general. Just because the economy is recovering, this does not equate to businesses regaining what they have lost. Returning to what they had is going to take many years
- 40% see general uncertainty as a major barrier for their business
- Supply issues are starting to negatively impact business performance and expect to exacerbate as the much of the world is in various levels of lockdown
- Businesses and staff are working harder than ever, with the total number of hours worked increasing
- Costs are rapidly rising – more than 40% foresee increased average cost for at least 12 months. Freight charges are just one factor in this.
- Profitability is not keeping pace, with 35% seeing decreased profit – with slight improvement 12 months out. Prices are under increasing pressure.
- Still much concern about COVID-19 (75% concerned).
Hear the Results of the June 2020 Business Confidence Survey
Helen Down, CEO of Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce and Mark Skelly, President of the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, and owner of Red Hot Business Coaching discuss results of the latest post-covid Business Confidence Survey.
Key Findings from the June Business Confidence Survey
- 39% of businesses are struggling to pay themselves and their staff
- 41% have issues with their cashflow
- 38% are struggling to find new business
Revenue compared with the same time a year ago
- 41% moderately worse
- 24% substantially worse
- 30% have had to re-negotiate commercial rent terms due to Covid-19
- 38% of staff are now working from home
- 33% are working flexi working hours
- 49% of businesses don’t think the Government has a coordinated plan of action focused on covid 19 economic recovery
March 2020 Business Confidence Survey
The March Business Confidence Survey, sponsored by Red Hot Business Coaching & Consulting, took a snapshot of business confidence just prior to the Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand
Join Helen Down, CEO of Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce and Mark Skelly of Red Hot Business Coaching as they discuss the results.
This survey provided a local business snapshot as the country went into Covid-19 lockdown. This livestream discussion took place on 16 April.
Key Findings from the Hutt Valley Chamber Quarterly Business Confidence Survey
- The latest survey was issued in mid-March to a community of approximately 7,000 business contacts immediately following the Government’s announcement of the Business Support Package relating to Covid-19
- The survey was sent out 10 days before the country went into level 4 and covers the period leading up to lockdown
- These results are from a mix of employers and employees. Most recipients are very senior people within the organisation and include sole traders through to those with 20 staff. 72% have been in business for more than 10 years. Respondents are from across the whole Wellington region
- 75% of businesses were already adjusting to the situation
- Steps they were taking included: preparing to work from home, increased use of online technology, adjusting staffing and applying for the wages subsidy, cleaning/hygiene improvements, cutting costs, physical distancing measures
- Businesses wanted more information and advice on government packages, strategy, reducing business costs, impact of government policy changes on their business
- Across a range of confidence questions, confidence was through the floor, especially overall for the Country and the region. However as is normal, many were more positive about their own business’s performance
- 90% responded they expected the general business situation in NZ to worsen
- 81% responded they expected it to be worse for the Wellington region
- 60% expected it to be worse for their own business earnings; 16% expected it to be the same and 22% expected it to be better
- Over 85% saw the Covid threat to the economy as the biggest threat
- 61% saw the Covid threat to health to be the second biggest threat
- 64% had no intentions to hire in the next 12 months; 28% intended to hire
- 40% of respondents say their intention to hire has changed due to Covid
- Significant change from previous surveys
Covid was completely unexpected and probably not even considered in any disaster recovery or risk management plan for local business.