Skip to main content

SME Data Hub

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

Use the drop-downs to select a year and quarter to look at 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.

COVID-19

80

%

of firms have seen their cashflow impacted by the pandemic

Summary

Published March 2021

No business has escaped the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In our research we track its continuing influence, from the economic to how business owners’ mental health is making it more difficult to ‘switch off’

Questions

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

Cash 16.6%
Chip and pin payments 18.2%
Online card payment 37.8%
PayPal 8.6%
Cheques 3.1%
None of the above 15.8%
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 13.6%
The amount of cash we are using hasn’t changed 34.8%
We’re using less cash 44.9%
Don’t know 6.8%
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 18.7%
Safe 27.2%
Neither safe nor unsafe 41.3%
Unsafe 8.7%
Very unsafe 4.1%
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 25.9%
Payments are more secure 27.1%
Reduced threat of physical theft 15.3%
More sales data available 4.4%
It’s more hygienic 15.2%
None of the above 12%
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%
Yes, late payments have increased by 26-50% 24.8%
Yes, late payments have increased by more than 50% 7.2%
No, we have not seen an increased in late payments 39%
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 16%
Yes, we have been forced to delay some invoices 32.4%
Yes, we are unable to make payments are the current time 6%
No, invoices are being paid at a similar rate as before the crisis 45.6%
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 60.2%
no 39.8%
yes 56.9%
no 43.1%

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

No change 20.7%
25% reduction 38.6%
50% reduction 20.9%
75% reduction 11.7%
100% reduction 3.7%
Unsure 4.6%
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 1.1%
1-3 months 13.6%
4-6 months 33.2%
7-9 months 16.7%
10-12 months 11.5%
Longer than 12 months 10%
We expect the measures put in place to become permanent 7.8%
Don’t know 6%
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 51%
Closed completely until social distancing ends 13.2%
Closed for good 8.7%
Open for emergencies only 4.4%
Open for online consultations / meetings 6.8%
Majority working from home 15.9%
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 13%
Within 3 months 24.7%
Within 6 months 30.6%
Unsure 22.3%
Not applicable to our business 9.5%
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 40.1%
With fewer people 38.9%
With more people 8.2%
Too early to tell 12.8%
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 a COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) application?

Yes, it was approved 23.3%
Yes, it was declined 11.1%
No application made – not needed 52.2%
Still considering whether to apply or not 13.4%
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 45.4%
Yes, for everyone in the business 27.6%
No, everyone needs to be in the office / on site 13%
No, I don't believe it's a viable long-term option for my business 14%
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 40.2%
no 38.1%
Too early to tell 21.7%
yes 40.8%
no 33.5%
Too early to tell 25.6%

What is the main challenge you would face by using less cash in your business?

Access to the right systems i.e. card readers 13.1%
Technology failure 21.4%
Online security/hacking 19.1%
Makes immediate sales more difficult 7.4%
We would not face any challenges 20.8%
None of the above 18.1%

Has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted how quickly your invoices are resolved?

Yes, we are receiving payments more quickly 17.8%
Yes, we are seeing more delays to payments 37.1%
Yes, we are seeing an increase in bad debts 6.3%
No, invoices are being paid at a similar rate as before the crisis 38.8%

What is the main impact COVID-19 has had on your mental health?

I find it harder to switch off 14.3%
I feel more anxious 22%
I have low moods more often 14.7%
I feel lonely 9%
I have had sleepless nights 15.2%
I do not think the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted my mental health 24.8%

Since COVID-19, how stressed do you feel about cash flow?

Not stressed at all 22.8%
Slightly stressed 0%
Moderately stressed 49.4%
Very stressed 20.8%
Extremely stressed 7%

Since COVID-19, how stressed do you feel about meeting operations costs, such as rent?

Not stressed at all 31.7%
Slightly stressed 0%
Moderately stressed 44.1%
Very stressed 17.3%
Extremely stressed 6.9%

Since COVID-19, how stressed do you feel about your duty of care to staff (financial and health / wellbeing)?

Not stressed at all 27.6%
Slightly stressed 0%
Moderately stressed 42.4%
Very stressed 22.7%
Extremely stressed 7.3%

Since COVID-19, how stressed do you feel about profits decreasing?

Not stressed at all 22.6%
Slightly stressed 0%
Moderately stressed 41.2%
Very stressed 26%
Extremely stressed 10.2%

Since COVID-19, how stressed do you feel regarding uncertainty about your business’ future?

Not stressed at all 22.2%
Slightly stressed 0%
Moderately stressed 42.2%
Very stressed 24.6%
Extremely stressed 11%

Since COVID-19, how stressed do you feel about the economic outlook?

Not stressed at all 15.1%
Slightly stressed 0%
Moderately stressed 41.4%
Very stressed 29.9%
Extremely stressed 13.6%

What is the main step you have taken to reduce your stress or anxiety?

I share concerns with colleagues or friends and family 13.8%
I have tried to maintain a routine 21%
I give myself regular breaks 15.7%
I’m more flexible with my working day 18.2%
I am staying organised 19.7%
I have not taken any action to try to help my stress and anxiety 11.7%

What is the main operational arrangement you have had to (or will have to) put in place?

Working from home 43.6%
Staggered start times 18.3%
Alternate work days 10.3%
Enforcing social distancing 16.3%
None of the above 11.4%

Will you making use of the Government’s new Job Support Scheme:

yes 38.2%
no 42.6%
unsure 19.3%

Do you feel the new Job Support Scheme is a sufficient replacement for the Furlough scheme?

yes 39.1%
no 31.8%
unsure 29%

Are you clear how the new Job Support Scheme works?

Yes, it’s straightforward 31.3%
Yes, but I’ve had to do a lot of research 32%
No, it’s too complicated 13%
No, I haven’t had the chance to research it yet 23.7%

Do you know if your is firm eligible for the new Job Support Scheme?

yes 46.2%
no 25.5%
unsure 28.3%

Have you made a COVID-19 Bounce Back Loan (BBL) application?

Yes, it was approved 22.9%
Yes, it was declined 9.1%
No application made – not needed 53.3%
Still considering whether to apply or not 14.6%

What is the main personal commuting habit change you have made as a result of COVID-19

I will work from home more often 40.4%
I will cycle to work more often 9.8%
I will walk to work more often 7.6%
I will drive to work more often 9.8%
I will use public transport more frequently 1.8%
I will use public transport less frequently 2.6%
I will stop using public transport completely 3%
N/A – I have not started commuting yet to make any changes 4%
N/A – no changes, I will continue as I did before 21.1%

What is the main way you think commuting habits will change in the long-term?

People will avoid public transport 39.2%
People will go back to using mass public transport because of a lack of options 17.1%
People will actively explore alternative commuting options 21.3%
There will be more people driving to work 10.2%
There will be no significant shift in habits 12.1%

Should there be more investment in cycling infrastructure?

Yes, to prevent the roads from becoming overwhelmed with people avoiding public transport 28.7%
Yes, to improve people's physical and mental wellbeing 37%
Yes, to encourage and cement the recent change in commuting behaviour 10%
No, there is already enough investment 24.3%

Has your business become more online-based as a result of COVID-19?

Yes, day to day operations occur online more 28.3%
Yes, more trading occurs online 26%
Yes, both operations and trading happen more online 9.1%
No, our business model is the same 36.6%

Have you invested more in digital infrastructure as a result of COVID-19?

Yes, we have made a significant investment 23.7%
Yes, we have invested slightly 35.7%
No, we have not invested in any additional digital tools 40.7%

Would you say your work environment is ‘COVID-secure’?

yes 78.1%
no 12.7%
Unsure 9.2%

Have you tested positive for COVID-19?

yes 18%
no 80.3%
Unsure 1.6%
Prefer not to answer 0.1%

Have any of your staff tested positive for COVID-19?

yes 27.1%
no 69.8%
Unsure 3.1%

Have you or any of your staff had to self-isolate?

yes 42.3%
no 55.6%
Unsure 2.1%

Are staff confident to return to the office / place of work?

yes 64.8%
no 23.1%
Unsure 12.1%

Are staff able to work from home?

yes 70.2%
no 28.7%
Unsure 1.1%

Is this likely to continue after COVID-19?

yes 67.4%
no 17.9%
Unsure 14.7%
Back to top