Money & Banking

Covid-19 impact: Small businesses optimistic of recovery, finds Amex India survey

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on September 22, 2020

Manoj Adlakha, SVP and Chief Executive Officer, American Express Banking Corp India

Small business owners are optimistic about riding over the current storm of Covid even if the pandemic was to remain for a while or worsen a bit, a survey by American Express India showed.

It’s not only the surveyed 300 small businesses in top 10 cities that were optimistic about recovery, 1,000 consumers polled also corroborated with this sentiment.

“80 per cent of the small business surveyed predicted they will survive and come out of it on the other side even if Covid worsens a bit. This optimism is encouraging,” Manoj Adlakha, SVP and Chief Executive Officer, American Express Banking Corp India told BusinessLine.

Staying afloat

Also, 42 per cent of small businesses surveyed do hope to see consumer spending returning in next three months. “By the end of the year, they expect consumer spending to return for their businesses to stay afloat,” said Adlakha, adding that the online survey was conducted in the first two weeks of this month.

As many as 71 per cent of the merchants polled were confident that they had taken adequate measures to gain consumer trust.

“From these data points, I can see that there is optimism among the small businesses. This Covid-induced adversity has also prompted many of them to be innovative to retain and maintain the trust of customers so that they continue to do business post pandemic as well”, he said.

Adlakha said the survey showed that whopping 45 per cent of small businesses started accepting new methods of payments such as contactless payment channels. Already 97 per cent of Amex customers are on contactless. About 43 per cent of small businesses educated/trained self/staff on maintaining safety in the stores.

Also, 37 per cent increased efforts to advertise on social media and 34 per cent started new methods of delivery (contactless delivery methods) to their customers.

“One data point that stood out was Bengaluru merchants are far more digitally-savvy. Their effort to increase whatever they are propagating on social media saw an increase of 59 per cent,” he said.

Adlakha also said that the top two pain points for small businesses was they needed mental health advice for themselves and their employees. The second pain point was financial assistance, which was expected.

The Amex India survey also showed that 63 per cent of customers felt optimistic about resuming pre-Covid shopping levels (offline) in the next 3-6 months. They only want safe shopping environment and there is heightened interest among consumers to shop from local small businesses, he said. This survey comes on the heels of Amex launching its ‘shop small’ campaign to help small merchants in the country face the Covid-induced business woes.

Published on September 22, 2020

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