Confidence | Concerns | Cash | eCommerce
Paul Dunne, Ireland Country Manager, Elavon
According to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), there are 248,344 Small & Medium Enterprises active in Ireland. This represents 99.7% of all Irish businesses which is in line with EU statistics. Currently they employ over 70% of the workforce in Ireland. Those SMEs employ almost one million people here, and given that the current and the next generations both ultimately aspire to work for themselves, and the barriers to starting a business have never been lower, the number of SMEs, and therefore those employed in the area, in Ireland will continue to increase. Following on from our UK research, in July 2019, Elavon undertook research to understand SMEs in Ireland: what makes up, moves and motivates this hugely powerful, evolving economic force.
As a B2B payments provider with a large percentage of SME customers, understanding their perceptions and concerns is critical to the success of our business. We wanted to take their temperature and get a broad pulse on sentiment, trends, concerns and opportunities across enterprises of all sectors, sizes, lifespans and locations Our data offers a sharp insight into where SMEs are now, how they’re feeling, and what opportunities remain untapped.
It’s fascinating, for example, in an era when customer retention is a major concern – and customer service can make or break a business – that less than a third of businesses surveyed are trading online. This exposes a significant gap, and an opportunity for SMEs to open themselves up to the opportunities of eCommerce and the efficiencies possible therein.
Cashflow is a longstanding SME concern and 2019 is no different. But while previous generations of SMEs lacked choice in payment options, that’s not the case today. It’s therefore surprising that SMEs haven’t fully explored and embraced apps and payment technologies that could bring the security, efficiency and speed in cashflow they clearly seek.
Those are some of the key opportunities, but let’s not overlook the sentiment. SMEs in Ireland are, perhaps against the odds, positive, resilient and standing tall.
As a powerful, vital business segment for Elavon – and the economy-at-large – it’s inspiring that optimism and confidence define the SME landscape today – a time truly like no other.
- Elavon commissioned Amárach Research to survey 200 SMEs from 14 industries across the Republic of Ireland between 24th June and 12th July 2019. The research considers the operating and payments environment for Irish SMEs in the year ahead by examining market conditions, opportunities and concerns.
- This research was conducted through Computer Aided Telephone Interviewing (CATI). 200 Irish SME owners, senior managers and senior decision-makers, with between 1-249 employees, were surveyed.
- The sample was representative of Irish SMEs based on region and company size as per the CSO. 34% of companies surveyed were based in Dublin; 25% in Munster; 24% in the greater Leinster area and 18% in Connaught / Ulster.