Survey: Canadian retail SMBs who export optimistic for 2017

Top worries include the value of the Canadian dollar for purchasing business inputs

October 20, 2016
Purchasing B2B

TORONTO—Canadian small and medium-sized business (SMBs) are optimistic about their future, according to eBay Canada’s first SMB Optimism Index.

Scored out of 100 from very pessimistic to very optimistic, Canadian retail SMBs averaged a 74 on the Index. However, those who export indexed notably higher at 79 points, while non-exporting SMBs are significantly less optimistic at 72 points.
SMBs who export reported an average of nearly 60 percent more in sales than those who don’t. They are also more likely than non-exporters to believe there are new market opportunities for them (70 percent versus 36 percent) and that technologies and innovations will positively impact their business (56 percent versus 41 percent).

“Given the relatively small size of the Canadian market, it stands to reason that business optimism in our country would be linked to exporting,” says Andrea Stairs, managing director, eBay Canada.

Another contributing factor to SMB optimism is the variety of sales channels used by a business. Omni-channel businesses indexed at 77 compared to 72 for single-channel enterprises. Further, omni-channel SMBs that use digital channels scored higher on the Index (77) than those who don’t (73).

As for impediments to optimism, the top worries reported by Canadian SMBs include the value of the Canadian dollar for purchasing business inputs, low margins and tough domestic competition. And, though more than half of SMBs (56 percent) agreed that Canada is a good country in which to run a business, only 38 percent believe the Canadian government makes decisions that help their business.

Additional key findings from the eBay Canada SMB Optimism Index include:

  • More than half (54 percent) of SMBs surveyed felt optimistic about 2017, with one in five (19 percent) feeling very optimistic;
  • Quebec SMBs are overall the most optimistic scoring 79 on the Index; SMBs from the Atlantic are the least optimistic with a score of 72;
  • Two in three (66 percent) SMBs that have been in business for less than five years are optimistic about their business prospects for 2017, compared to 47 percent of SMBs that have been operating for 20+ years
  • One in four (28 percent) SMBs expect to increase their number of sales channels in 2017—this number grows to 38 percent for exporting SMBs and drops to 22 percent for non-exporting SMBs; and
  • 16 percent of SMBs expect to increase their employee headcount in 2017—26 percent of exporting SMBs expect an increase, compared to 11 percent of non-exporting SMBs.