Despite stubbornly high inflation and reduced consumer purchasing power, most Australian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) remain optimistic about their short-term growth prospects.

53% of SMEs are projecting revenue growth to September 2024 – down from 57% last year – compared with just a third (32%) flagging revenue decline.

Remarkably, the average predicted growth rate of 8.8% is the highest ever recorded in the decade-long history of ScotPac’s SME Growth Index Report, surpassing the previous high of 8.6% recorded in the very first edition in 2014.

However, there are also clear signs of strain with the gap between high and low SME growth projections ballooning to a staggering 38 percentage points, and the average rate of predicted revenue contraction reaching a new high of -10%.

ScotPac’s SME Growth Index Report is Australia’s longest-running sentiment check of SME attitudes towards growth. Other prominent findings from the 10th-anniversary edition that demonstrate the stark variations in confidence across the country include:

  • Western Australian and Queensland SMEs remain the most positive in the nation, with 89% and 81% respectively forecasting six-month revenue growth.
  • Victorian SMEs are the nation’s most pessimistic with just 14% projecting revenue growth compared with 65% flagging a decline in fortunes.
  • NSW SMEs occupied the cautious middle ground with 43% predicting revenue growth, 27% forecasting revenue decline, and 30% anticipating no change.

ScotPac CEO, Jon Sutton said the growing chasm in SME revenue projections paints a vivid picture that confirms Australia’s post-COVID, two-speed economy is alive and well.

“The fact that most SMEs remain optimistic in a challenging economic climate is a great indicator of the agility of Australian business owners who continue to adapt and thrive,” Mr Sutton said.

“A lot of businesses we work with are investing in new equipment or technology in fast-growing sectors like health and aged care, e-commerce and renewable energy.

“However, other sectors like construction, restaurants & cafes and shopfront retail face ongoing challenges with issues including material costs, supply chain disruptions and cost of living rises that are squeezing discretionary spending.

“Whatever the situation, SMEs should talk to their brokers and advisers regularly about the growing range of working capital options available to support their specific needs, however simple or complex,” Mr Sutton said.

Mr Sutton said ScotPac offers brokers and their clients more choice than any other lender in the market, with the right funding solution for businesses in almost every circumstance.

SME Business Confidence Across the Years – 2014-2024

  • Growth projections peaked at 63% in 2014 and hit a low of 47% at the outset of COVID in 2020.
  • Negative revenue forecasts peaked at 32% in this report (2024) and were lowest at just 13% in 2014.
  • The gap between the most positive and most negative growth projections reached a peak of 38 percentage points in this report (2024) compared with a low of 18 percentage points in 2014.

About the SME Growth Index – 10Th Anniversary edition

Commencing in March 2014, ScotPac’s twice yearly SME Growth Index is Australia’s longest-running research report on SME sentiment towards revenue growth prospects.

The Round 20 research was conducted by East & Partners who interviewed 727 SME enterprises with annual revenues of A$1-20 million.

SMEs surveyed have operated continuously for 15 years and manage an average of 56.5 full time employees.

Sectors represented in the survey included Manufacturing (14%), Property & Business Services (14%), Retail (11%), Wholesale (12%), Personal & Other Services (10%), Construction (10%) and other industries including Transport & Storage, Mining, Agriculture, Media, Hospitality, Finance & Insurance (non-bank) and Electricity.


ScotPac is Australia and New Zealand’s largest non-bank SME business lender, providing funding to small, medium and large businesses from start-ups to enterprises exceeding $1 billion in revenues. For 35 years ScotPac has helped thousands of business owners succeed, offering fast and flexible funding. From simple to complex, small to large, start-up, growth or turnaround – ScotPac can help with a range of funding including Invoice Finance, Trade Finance, Asset Finance and Business Loans.

For more information contact:

Todd Hayward
Mob: 0412 205 151