A remarkable 57% of Australian SMEs expect positive revenue growth over the next six months – a seven-year high – while a record 32% are forecasting a contraction in growth. 

The wildly contrasting predictions are contained in the latest round (Q3, 2023) of the country’s longest running SME pulse check, the bi-annual SME Growth Index by ScotPac, Australia’s leading non-bank business lender.

For a third straight Index report, the range of SME revenue growth projections stretched to a record margin, from a high of +13% to a low of -22%.

A breakdown of the growth sentiment by location amplifies the fact that a two-speed SME economy remains at play across the country:

  • West Australian and Queensland-based SMEs are the nation’s most upbeat, with 92% and 84% respectively predicting positive revenue growth in the next six months.
  • Victorian SMEs remain the nation’s most negative with just 17% forecasting positive revenue growth – the only State under 50% – and a concerning 69% warning of income decline.
  • Regional SMEs across the country reported a brighter outlook than their metro-based counterparts, with just 17% projecting a contraction in revenue compared with 38% of SMEs in urban centres.

ScotPac CEO, Jon Sutton, said although it was clear that rising costs are taking a toll on business owners, the resilience of Australian SMEs was again on display in these results.

“Australian SMEs account for 97% of all businesses in this country and employ nearly 8 million people, so the way they feel about their growth prospects has a big say in the health of the national economy,” Mr Sutton said.

“While the full impact of recent award and minimum wage increases is yet to filter through, the fact that average SME growth forecasts remain at near record levels is a great sign of confidence as inflation begins to taper.

“The positivity in our regions is significant, particularly in WA and Queensland, and it highlights the often-overlooked role of SMEs in our natural resources supply chain.

“It is also symbolic of the resurgence in our domestic and international tourism sectors.

“At the other end of the scale, the outlook for Victorian SMEs remains at pandemic-level lows and is nearing the point where policy intervention is required to provide targeted relief and boost opportunities and confidence,” Mr Sutton said.


For more information contact:

Todd Hayward
Mob: 0412 205 151