Small business sector shows signs of recovery

Australians are returning to small business segments with eftpos’ real-time shopping data revealing significant increases in specialised food, eating out, pubs, holidays and hair cuts.

The number of Aussies accessing cash via ATMs and cash out also showed good signs of recovery, jumping dramatically in recent weeks but still down on levels from pre-Covid Australia in early 2020, says eftpos.

eftpos CEO Stephen Benton says specialised food stores servicing the nation’s culturally diverse palate were among the strongest performers in Australia’s recovering post-Covid economy.

Mr Benton said point-of-sale data this week reveals Australians flocked to restock all manner of specialised and epicurean goodies, with year-on-year transactions at these small businesses soaring around 60% compared to the same time last year.

“These marvellous small businesses specialise in everything from spices, sweets and condiments to culturally-specific delicatessens and main street markets where you go to get your authentic sambal, roti, barbeque rub, cheeses, pickles, or vegan delights,” Mr Benton said.  

“Recent lockdowns and mobility restrictions like the 5km rule in Sydney, necessitated a period of hibernation for many of these businesses and their hungry customers, but they are now back in force as our wonderfully diverse, multicultural society gets back outside and into the shops.”

Mr Benton said Australians were rushing back to their favourite restaurants in big numbers, and many had chosen to get a haircut or take a well-earned break and go on holiday.

“Eating out has rebounded well, with cafes and restaurants’ posting a 58% jump compared to this time last year and were up higher than pre-Covid levels.

“Hotels, motels and resorts jumped 91%, as people begin to get out of the house and take holidays.

“As for eliminating split ends, restoring colour and a return to professional style, ‘hairdressing (women and men)’ posted a very healthy upward clip of almost 70% compared to this time in 2020,” he said.

Mr Benton said another interesting trend was that more people were accessing cash but not in the volumes eftpos was seeing in the pre-Covid economy.

“People are accessing cash put at the checkout around 25% more often compared to this time last year, while ATM withdrawals that saw a significant rise straight after lockdowns eased and are now starting to plateau.”

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