Shop Small 2019


The majority of Australians (84%) believe that small businesses positively impact their local community.


In this annual report, now in its seventh year, we investigate the future of small business – what this may look like, barriers preventing small businesses from thriving and whether operators are future-proofing themselves to meet the evolving needs of their customers.


The research was commissioned by American Express and undertaken by RFi Group, surveying over 1,000 consumers and more than 870 small business owners
from across Australia in August 2019.

The Dormant Dollar


$93.8 billion of additional revenue could be generated over the next 12 months if small business owners could bring their ideas for growth into fruition – a figure dubbed the Dormant Dollar.


of additional revenue could be generated over the next 12 months if small business growth plans are realised

The Future Dollar


Aspiring small business owners could contribute


to the Australian economy

While the number of aspiring small business owners is down year-on-year, their plans could still generate a healthy sum for the Aussie economy.

If those planning and taking tangible action to start a small business could be convinced to bring their plans forward, our research estimates this is worth $167 billion.

Setting up for succession success



The majority of small business owners are not prepared for the ultimate form of future-proofing: succession planning.

Only 27% of those who expect to end their small business ownership within five years have a detailed succession plan in place and 41% have no plan at all.



have a detailed succession plan in place

The emotional toll of life as a small business owner


While most small business owners (38%) cite the positive impacts of business ownership on their personal wellbeing, they also note some drawbacks. One fifth (22%) admit to working less hours in their business as a result of the mental strain, while 16% have laid off staff or experienced weaker business performance.



Mental health challenges cost small businesses


per year


The statistics also indicate a correlation between businesses impacted by mental health challenges and lower turnover, which equates to a $19.1 billion a year impact to SMBs.


The Boomerang Dollar


This year the Boomerang Dollar has increased to 45.4% - this means that just over 45 cents of every dollar spent in a small business flows back into the local community through salaries to residents, payments to local suppliers, charities, schools and sponsorships.

Digital future


Small business looks set to become increasingly digital. Almost half of Australian bricks and mortar operators (48%) predict their business will operate entirely online in the future, with more than a quarter (26%) of these foreseeing this happening in the next three years.



can see the scenario where their business operates entirely online

Download Report

For more insights, download The Economy of Shopping Small:

The Future of Small Business as a PDF.

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