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Business Impact of Brexit on SMEs 2020

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has just published the results of the Business Impact of Brexit on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Survey from 2020. The biggest Brexit concern is Price increases in 2021 at more than 40% of responding SMEs.

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The Central Statistics Office (CSO) just published the results of the Business Impact of Brexit on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Survey.

In Summary:

  • Price increases in 2021 is the biggest Brexit concern for more than 40% of responding SMEs
  • Among responding Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), 38% said a difficulty in transporting goods to/from the UK is their biggest Brexit concern in 2021
  • One in five respondents (21%) report a decline in business from UK as their biggest concern for 2021
  • Six out of ten respondents took no steps in preparation for Brexit
  • Among respondents, 13% sought new suppliers in preparation for Brexit
  • More than four in ten respondents believed that Brexit would have a negative impact on business in 2021
  • Pausing or cancelling investment was one of the most common steps taken by respondents to mitigate both COVID-19 and Brexit uncertainty

This release is based on data collected during the Business Impact of COVID-19 on SMEs in 2020 Survey (BICS). The data was collected to measure and report on key features of the impact of both the COVID-19 crisis and impact of Brexit on small and medium enterprises in Ireland in 2020. A Small or Medium Enterprise (SME) is an enterprise having 1-249 persons engaged. This release focuses on the impact of Brexit on SMEs in 2020. Respondents were asked their biggest Brexit concerns and actions they were taking in 2020 in preparation for Brexit.

 

Key Findings

  • Pausing or cancelling investment was one of the most common steps taken by responding SMEs to mitigate COVID-19 and Brexit uncertainty
  • More than four in ten responding SMEs believed that Brexit would have a negative impact on business in 2021
  • In all sectors, 5% or less respondents believed that Brexit would have a positive impact on their business in 2021
  • More than four in ten responding SMEs (42%) report an increase in prices as their biggest Brexit concern for 2021
  • Among responding SMEs, 38% report that difficulty in transporting goods to/from the UK is their biggest Brexit concern in 2021
  • One in five responding SMEs (21%) report that a decline in business from UK customers is their biggest Brexit concern in 2021
  • Six out of ten responding SMEs have taken no steps in preparation for Brexit
  • New suppliers were sought by 13% of responding SMEs in preparation for Brexit

COVID-19 and Brexit Uncertainty
Pausing or cancelling investment was one of the most common steps taken by respondents to mitigate COVID-19 and Brexit uncertainty

In terms of steps taken to mitigate COVID-19 and Brexit uncertainty, 39% of responding enterprises took no steps. Among those that did, the most common were pausing/cancelling investment (13%), implementing a pay freeze (13%), increasing digitisation (12%) and reducing their work force (11%). Many respondents took multiple steps. See Figure 2 and Table 1.

Brexit Concerns and Preparation
In all sectors, 5% or less respondents believed that Brexit would have a positive impact on business in 2021

More than half of respondents in the Wholesale and Retail Trade and the Industry sectors believed that Brexit would have a negative impact on business in 2021, this was 46% for respondents in the Construction sector.

This compares to between 30% and 38% of respondents in the Professional and IT, Finance and Administration, Transportation and Storage, Accommodation and Food Service Activities and Other Service Activities sectors.

In all sectors, 5% or less respondents believed that Brexit would have a positive impact on their business in 2021. See Figure 3.

Two thirds of respondents in Construction reported an increase in prices as their biggest Brexit concern.

Almost two thirds of respondents in the Construction sector (65%) reported an increase in prices as their biggest Brexit concern for 2021.

In the Services sector, 38% of respondents reported that difficulty in transporting goods to/from the UK is their biggest concern, followed by an increase in prices (36%) and a decline in business from UK customers (26%).

Almost half (47%) of respondents in Industry reported that transporting goods to/from the UK is their biggest concern. See Figure 4 below.

Six in ten responding SMEs took no steps in preparation for Brexit

In preparation for Brexit, new suppliers were sought by 13% of respondents, 8% have increased preparedness for new custom procedures/duties while 60% have taken no steps. See Figure 5 below.

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