Main Impacts of COVID19 on Italians’ Small and Medium Enterprises

During the Covid-19 emergency, more than 7 out of 10 companies had serious repercussions on business operations, and according to 80% of SMEs, the impact deriving from the reduction of the business was very serious and immediate.

In this scenario, only one in four companies turned to smart working practices, while 41% of companies substantially rethought organizational aspects, as well as distribution and payment aspects to facilitate customers.

However, according to 5 out of 10 companies, the crisis did not shift SMEs’ attention from green issues, so much so that 21% had already planned energy efficiency measures throughout the year and 62% will complete them totally or partially.

These are the main pieces of evidence emerging from the latest BVA Doxa research for Repower on the impact of the health emergency on the business, and on the future expectations of a sample of 635 client companies. 

Results coming from the latest BVA Doxa research reveal that the health emergency brought a serious economic impact and a strong concern for business continuity, but also the ability to react and introduce organizational changes that will also be valid for the future, while keeping  an eye to the green world and to a new relationship with suppliers of power. The research was carried out for Repower and it focused on the impacts of the health emergency on business and on future expectations, on a sample of 635 client companies.

WORKING CAPACITY AND RESULTS ENDANGERED BY THE HEALTH EMERGENCY – More than 7 out of 10 companies have experienced serious repercussions on business operations: 24% maintained only a few essential functions, while the remaining 50% had to completely stop their business during the lockdown.

According to 80% of the companies surveyed, the economic impact deriving from the reduction of the business was very serious and immediate, while for a further 10% the repercussions of this extraordinary situation will be felt between May and September.

Even the medium-term predictions are not comforting: almost 5 out of 10 companies, in fact, declare that it will be difficult to meet all the rules required for the reopening of the activities, while 7 out of 10 companies predict a future further drop of more than 20% of the demand of products and services on both national and international markets.

In this context, almost 7 out of 10 companies are worried about the future of their business, with possible business continuity problems.

HOW THE ORGANIZATION OF PROCESSES AND OFFERS CHANGES – In the face of this extremely difficult situation, companies have managed to react by introducing organizational and structural changes that will also be adopted in the near future. Only one in four companies turned to smart working practices, but 58% of those who kept working from home believe these new work methods will still be applied even after the emergency ends. In addition, 41% of companies have substantially rethought their organization to facilitate customers, in particular through the use of services and home deliveries, by changing working shift times and by setting up online orders and payments.

ATTENTION TO THE ENERGETIC TRANSITION – Despite times of crisis and the economic challenges, the attention of small and medium-sized enterprises towards environmental issues is very high, for example towards the use of renewable energy sources, to energy efficiency and investment in electric mobility solutions.

For five out of ten companies, in fact, Coronavirus will have no effect on the attention given to these issues and 38% of the surveyed SMEs believe that green issues and services will assume even greater importance in the future. In confirmation of this, 21% had already planned energy efficiency measures during the year and 62% will however complete them in whole or in part.

A NEW ROLE TO ENERGY SUPPLIERS – Considering the current need for many is to reduce costs, it becomes clear how companies focus on improving the economic conditions and on payments by installments in their requests to energy suppliers.

Despite many companies have low trusts in the ability of institutions, such as trade associations, government, banking system, European Union and trade unions, to manage and fight this health emergency, 10% of them suggest something new. According to this request, suppliers would be the interlocutors with the Government taking on the difficulties of their client companies, in order to request the lowering – if not even the suspension – of the taxes and charges contained in the bills, which in a moment of profound crisis are seen as an unjustified and hardly tolerable cost.

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