In mid-October, the autumn forecast of the Ministry of Economics predicted a change in gross domestic product of -5.4 per cent compared to the previous year. In 2021, the economy is expected to pick up slightly again. But the SMEs in Germany say something different:
A quick survey of 300 decision-makers from German SMEs conducted by Visable, the operator of the B2B platforms EUROPAGES and wlw ("Wer liefert was"), clearly shows the force with which the corona crisis has hit German SMEs - and will continue to hit them next year: 58 per cent of those surveyed expect a further drop in sales in 2021. One in five (19 percent) even expect losses of more than 50 percent. The lack of orders from abroad is particularly drastic.
The fact that the economic losses in the corona year 2020 would be considerable should come as little surprise in view of the continuing state of emergency. For example, 65 percent of the SMEs surveyed stated that they had suffered losses in turnover. Every fourth company (24 percent) is struggling with losses of more than 50 percent compared to the previous year. Only every fifth company (19 percent) has not suffered any losses.
All the more reason to hope for the coming year. The leading economic institutes, for example, forecast growth at a low level of almost five percent for 2021. However, German SMEs are much less optimistic: 58 percent of those surveyed expect a further drop in turnover in 2021. Just eleven percent assume that they will be able to generate an increase in turnover compared to 2020. For only three percent, an increase in turnover and a return to pre-corona levels is realistic. A small share of seven percent has not seen any changes in turnover due to corona and does not expect any in the future. For 2021 there is a little light at the end of the tunnel: at 19 percent, almost one in five of those surveyed expect no further losses in the coming year.
Lack of exports particularly crucial for every second company
In addition to the hotel and catering industry, economic institutes assess the drastic decline in exports as the main reason for the slump in economic output. A development that is also confirmed by those surveyed: More than one in four (28 percent) is suffering massively from the drop in demand from abroad. A further 22 percent confirm massive sales losses due to the significant reduction in export business, but have been able to identify an upward trend in recent weeks due to a renewed rise in demand. "For Germany as an export country, these developments are extremely drastic. Many SMEs are now faced with the challenge of finding new distribution channels in order to secure their existence in the long term. Direct sales or even visits to trade fairs are almost non-existent due to Corona. This is where we at Visable provide support with our EUROPAGES platforms throughout Europe and wlw in the DACH region, as well as with our diverse additional offers for further online visibility," says Peter F. Schmid, CEO of Visable. The EUROPAGES and wlw platforms from Visable have seen a significant increase in access figures since the beginning of the crisis at the beginning of March. Traffic has grown in recent months, in some cases by more than 25 per cent year-on-year
Can German small and medium-sized enterprises return to former strength? SMEs are undecided
For many years, "Made in Germany" was regarded as the guarantee for a leading position in the international export competition. But can German small and medium-sized businesses find their way back to their old strength? More than a third (35 percent) are convinced of this. A further third (32 percent) expect a long-term change in the procurement market towards more local and national supply chains - even beyond the Corona crisis. "Many companies are forced to completely rethink their procurement strategy or are dependent on alternative sources of supply in the short term because established supply chains are breaking away from them. As a result, suppliers from the surrounding markets with shorter supply routes are once again moving more into focus. This development will also have a long-term effect on the sourcing strategy of many companies", explains Peter F. Schmid.
A picture of Peter F. Schmid can be downloaded here.