Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Business Confidence Survey, Sponsored by Bronze Partners, Red Hot Business Coaching & Consulting

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Executive Summary

Key Findings from the December 2021 Business Confidence Survey

Business Confidence Outlook Indicates Change Over the Next 6-12 months

Businesses responding to the survey have indicated a change in confidence outlook for New Zealand, the Wellington region and their business compared to the previous survey. This is particularly for the 6 month and 12 month outlook where businesses are indicating:

·  Significant increase in the businesses expecting the New Zealand situation to be moderately worse in 6 months (+21.95%)

·  Significant decline in the businesses expecting the Wellington region to be moderately better in 12 months (-15.67%)

·  Significant increase in businesses expecting their business situation to be moderately worse in 6 months (+12.31%) and 12 months (+10.65%)

Covid-19 and labour shortages remain the two biggest impediments affecting confidence. Businesses have also indicated for the first time that the current international trade environment and supply of raw products are starting to affect their businesses. The impact of uncertainty around the impact of current government policies has remained high for the business community across the Hutt Valley.

Labour Issues and Finding Staff Remain Significant Problems for Businesses

Labour shortages continue to be identified as a significant issue for businesses. Over the next 3-12 months businesses are anticipating increasing labour turnover by around 22-27% more than the previous survey. Increasing costs and supply chain issues are also seen as significant risk factors by many businesses.

Finding staff remains very difficult with no businesses expecting that it will be easier to get any type of skilled or specialist employees. Businesses are anticipating it will get harder to find both specialist, skilled and unskilled employees.

One the positive side businesses are expecting increasing number of employees over the next 6 – 12 months and increasing online sales.

Covid 19 – Impacts and Challenges

Covid-19 continues to be a driver of lower confidence with the confidence declining. A lower number of businesses feel things will get better compared to the previous survey.

Supply Chain Issues are Starting to Have an Impact

Businesses that are importing and exporting have also experienced supply chain issues with rising costs, product and material shortages and significant delays. Over 50% of businesses are highly or very concerned about how the international supply chains are affecting their business.

Business Confidence Survey - June 2021

Key Findings from the June 2021 Business Confidence Survey

Barriers to Improving Confidence
  • Covid-19 and labour shortages remain the two biggest impediments to improving confidence. It should also be noted that the uncertainty around the impact of current government policies and supply issues are also of significant concern for the businesses across the Hutt Valley.
Finding Staff for the Last 12 months
  • Labour shortages are identified as a significant issue for businesses.
Covid 19 – Impacts and Challenges
  • Covid -19 continues to be a significant conversation with businesses across the region. Around 45% of business consider Covid-19 to be a higher risk to their business. However, the majority of businesses (77%) do not consider their business is at risk of closure as a result of Covid-19.
Impacts of Climate Change on Business
  • Over half of businesses (54%) felt that their business will be affected by climate change impacts (such as flooding frequency, higher insurance premiums) in the future?
  •  Whilst most businesses (90%) are not taking active steps to measure their own emissions. However they do have a range of ideas and plans on tackling emissions including actions on energy efficiency and electrification of their vehicle fleet.

Key Findings from the April/May 2021 Business Confidence Survey

    • Business confidence is increasing and local businesses see improvements in the next 6‑12 months
    • COVID-19 economic impacts, growing concern around government policy and labour shortages are holding businesses back nationally
    • There is growing inflationary pressure on business, as more than half of businesses show increasing costs in the last three months, with half expecting to increase their selling price within a year.
    • The road network is by far and away the single largest mode of transport for local employees to get to and from work. Employees come from all over the region and for the majority, public transport is not a preferred mode of transport.
    • Supply chain concerns exist for three quarters of all businesses.
    • Pressure continues for business across a wide range of areas of operation.

Key Findings from the November 2020 Business Confidence Survey

  • Local businesses are expecting 12 months of clawing back what COVID-19 has cost them (assuming no further lockdowns)
  • 72% see the economic impacts of COVID-19 as the biggest barrier to business in general. Just because the economy is recovering, this does not equate to businesses regaining what they have lost. Returning to what they had is going to take many years
  • 40% see general uncertainty as a major barrier for their business
  • Supply issues are starting to negatively impact business performance and expect to exacerbate as the much of the world is in various levels of lockdown
  • Businesses and staff are working harder than ever, with the total number of hours worked increasing
  • Costs are rapidly rising – more than 40% foresee increased average cost for at least 12 months. Freight charges are just one factor in this.
  • Profitability is not keeping pace, with 35% seeing decreased profit – with slight improvement 12 months out. Prices are under increasing pressure.
  • Still much concern about COVID-19 (75% concerned).

Hear the Results of the June 2020 Business Confidence Survey

Helen Down, CEO of Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce and Mark Skelly, President of the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, and owner of Red Hot Business Coaching discuss results of the latest post-covid Business Confidence Survey.

Key Findings from the June Business Confidence Survey

Financial health
  • 39% of businesses are struggling to pay themselves and their staff
  • 41% have issues with their cashflow
  • 38% are struggling to find new business
Revenue compared with the same time a year ago
  • 41% moderately worse
  • 24% substantially worse
  • 30% have had to re-negotiate commercial rent terms due to Covid-19
Working environment
  • 38% of staff are now working from home
  • 33% are working flexi working hours
  • 49% of businesses don’t think the Government has a coordinated plan of action focused on covid 19 economic recovery

March 2020 Business Confidence Survey

The March Business Confidence Survey, sponsored by Red Hot Business Coaching & Consulting, took a snapshot of business confidence just prior to the Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand

Join Helen Down, CEO of Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce and Mark Skelly of Red Hot Business Coaching as they discuss the results.

This survey provided a local business snapshot as the country went into Covid-19 lockdown. This livestream discussion took place on 16 April.

Key Findings from the Hutt Valley Chamber Quarterly Business Confidence Survey

  • The latest survey was issued in mid-March to a community of approximately 7,000 business contacts immediately following the Government’s announcement of the Business Support Package relating to Covid-19
  • The survey was sent out 10 days before the country went into level 4 and covers the period leading up to lockdown
  • These results are from a mix of employers and employees. Most recipients are very senior people within the organisation and include sole traders through to those with 20 staff. 72% have been in business for more than 10 years. Respondents are from across the whole Wellington region
  • 75% of businesses were already adjusting to the situation
  • Steps they were taking included: preparing to work from home, increased use of online technology, adjusting staffing and applying for the wages subsidy, cleaning/hygiene improvements, cutting costs, physical distancing measures
  • Businesses wanted more information and advice on government packages, strategy, reducing business costs, impact of government policy changes on their business
  • Across a range of confidence questions, confidence was through the floor, especially overall for the Country and the region. However as is normal, many were more positive about their own business’s performance
  • 90% responded they expected the general business situation in NZ to worsen
  • 81% responded they expected it to be worse for the Wellington region
  • 60% expected it to be worse for their own business earnings; 16% expected it to be the same and 22% expected it to be better
  • Over 85% saw the Covid threat to the economy as the biggest threat
  • 61% saw the Covid threat to health to be the second biggest threat
  • 64% had no intentions to hire in the next 12 months; 28% intended to hire
  • 40% of respondents say their intention to hire has changed due to Covid
  • Significant change from previous surveys

Covid was completely unexpected and probably not even considered in any disaster recovery or risk management plan for local business.