Resilient SMEs

Elavon, a leading global payments provider, has released its Ireland SME Pulse Index, an in-depth survey of 200 SMEs across the country. Its research reveals that Irish SMEs feel resilient in the face of challenges such as Brexit, business running costs and cashflow. The report also identifies growth opportunities in eCommerce, which many Irish SMEs have yet to tap.

While the use of eCommerce and innovative cashless technology increases, many Irish SMEs have yet to embrace online sales channels and the latest payments technology. Most (59 per cent) believe that eCommerce will bring business opportunities, yet less than a third (28 per cent) of businesses surveyed are trading online.

Of those trading online, less than ten per cent of SMEs use off-the-shelf solutions for eCommerce.  Instead, many businesses (43 per cent) outsource the development of eCommerce capability to external agencies, missing potential cost savings.

Paul Dunne, Ireland Country Manager at Elavon comments: “SMEs make up the largest proportion of our customers and a significant portion of the private sector business in Ireland. Understanding their perceptions and concerns is vital. Our research highlights that businesses feel broadly resilient despite the uncertainties of Brexit.”

“Small to Medium-sized companies are concerned with getting paid on time and securing repeat business to stay viable – ensuring they offer customers a variety of payment options is crucial. Elavon is committed to providing expertise and payments solutions to help SMEs grow online and in face-to-face environments.”

Confidence and challenges

The study reveals that despite the economic uncertainty around Brexit, 70 per cent of Irish SMEs feel positive about their resilience over the next year; 64 per cent feel confident in general and 68 per cent believe there are more opportunities for SMEs now than ten years ago. Apart from Brexit, which was the biggest concern voiced by SMEs (53 per cent), other main challenges include business running costs (51 per cent) and cashflow (29 per cent).

Payments and eCommerce  

Similarly, with consumers indicating they want more choices in the ways they pay, many Irish businesses are not adopting new technology. By facilitating a variety of cashless payments methods, SMEs are poised to increase revenue via mobile wallets, through in-app payments and with next-generation, point-of-sale (POS) terminals.

While nearly three-quarters of businesses (72 per cent) have websites, less than a third (28 per cent) are trading online. Among SMEs with an eCommerce presence, this channel only accounts for ten per cent or less total sales.

These gaps point the significant opportunity for SMEs to increase revenue by optimising the payments choices available to consumers.  

About the research

Elavon commissioned Amárach Research to survey 200 SMEs from 14 industries across the Republic of Ireland between 24th June and 12th July 2019. The research considers the operating and payments environment for Irish SMEs in the year ahead by examining market conditions, opportunities and concerns. 

About Elavon

Elavon is a leading global payments company with more than 4,300 employees and operations in 10 countries. A subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), Elavon provides businesses with the technology needed to accept payments from customers, whether they are shopping in stores, at home or on the go. Its platform is distinctive in that it is common across countries, making it easier for businesses to get their payment system up and running quickly and securely.

 

 

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