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SME Data Hub

1,000 UK SME owners across a range of sectors, regions and sizes, are surveyed regularly by specialist independent researcher, Kantar, on Close Brothers’ behalf.

Select a year and quarter to review the data we collected at that time.

Accessing the data

This data is free for you to use. All we ask is that you credit 'Close Brothers Asset Finance' if you do use it.

Select the year/quarter: Each 'wave' was collected at a specific time. Just select from the drop-down (above) the year/quarter you wish to view. 

Choose a question set: Below you can also choose different question sets to select data about a specific category or topic. 

Filter the data: Use the filters on the right to see the results split by gender, location, turnover, and industry. 

Compare data: If the same question has been asked in other years/quarters, you can use the drop-down underneath each chart to see how results have changed over time.


How did your business mainly take payments before the COVID-19 pandemic?

Cash 21.3%
Chip and pin payments 16.3%
Online card payment 31.7%
PayPal 7.7%
Cheques 8%
None of the above 15%

How has your business mainly been taking payments during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Cash 10.5%
Chip and pin payments 14.5%
Online card payment 40.4%
PayPal 8.7%
Cheques 7.1%
None of the above 18.8%

How has COVID-19 changed the way your business uses cash?

We’re using more cash 9.2%
The amount of cash we are using hasn’t changed 38.7%
We’re using less cash 45.5%
Don’t know 6.5%

How would using less cash in your business make you feel?

Very safe 13.7%
Safe 30%
Neither safe nor unsafe 46.6%
Unsafe 7%
Very unsafe 2.8%

What do you think is the main benefit of using less cash in your business?

Easier for accounting 27.1%
Payments are more secure 26.4%
Reduced threat of physical theft 14.8%
More sales data available 3.2%
It’s more hygienic 14.8%
None of the above 13.8%

Have you seen an increase in late payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes, late payments have increased by 25% or less 29.1%
Yes, late payments have increased by 26-50% 21.8%
Yes, late payments have increased by more than 50% 6.7%
No, we have not seen an increased in late payments 42.5%

Has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted how quickly you pay external companies?

Yes, we are paying invoices more quickly 12.2%
Yes, we have been forced to delay some invoices 31.5%
Yes, we are unable to make payments are the current time 7.1%
No, invoices are being paid at a similar rate as before the crisis 49.2%

In the current circumstances, do you feel that your business requires you to be ‘always on’?

yes 56.9%
no 43.1%

How has your business’s cash flow been affected by COVID-19?

No change 19.1%
25% reduction 33.2%
50% reduction 20.3%
75% reduction 11%
100% reduction 10.1%
Unsure 6.3%

How long do you expect operational arrangements to be in place?

Less than 1 month 4%
1-3 months 21.1%
4-6 months 31.4%
7-9 months 12.9%
10-12 months 9.6%
Longer than 12 months 8.8%
We expect the measures put in place to become permanent 6.3%
Don’t know 6%

What is the current status of your business, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Open as normal 40.5%
Closed completely until lockdown ends 21.4%
Closed for good 6%
Open for emergencies only 5.1%
Open for online consultations / meetings 8.2%
Majority working from home 18.8%

When do you believe/expect your business will be fully operational?

Within a month 15.7%
Within 3 months 36.6%
Within 6 months 28.9%
Unsure 13.7%
Not applicable to our business 5.1%

In terms of future staffing, do you believe your business will return...

With the same number of people 38.5%
With fewer people 43.6%
With more people 8.5%
Too early to tell 9.5%

Have you made use of the government’s furlough scheme for staff? (temporary COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme in Ireland)?

Yes 49.7%
No, haven't needed to 11.2%
No, but will consider for the future 39%

Have you made a COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) application?

Yes, it was approved 23%
Yes, it was declined 8.1%
No application made – not needed 52.3%
Still considering whether to apply or not 16.5%

Will you be actively encouraging working from home?

Yes, for those who don't need to be based in the office 45%
Yes, for everyone in the business 26%
No, everyone needs to be in the office / on site 13.2%
No, I don't believe it's a viable long-term option for my business 15.9%

Will you be looking to make your business more cycle-friendly, following the COVID-19 pandemic?

yes 40.8%
no 33.5%
Too early to tell 25.6%

Do you feel that COVID-19 has given you a better appreciation of the value of nature?

yes 75.1%
no 24.9%

Do you feel COVID-19 has given society a better appreciation of the value of nature?

yes 74%
no 26%

Will your business be encouraging volunteering with nature conservation charities, once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed?

yes 50.3%
no 49.7%

Have you noticed a difference in the air quality, since the COVID-19 pandemic?

yes 68.4%
no 28.4%
I have not been outside to notice a change 3.2%
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