Wise: Energy Crunch Causing SMBs to Relive the Ghosts of Covid Christmases Past

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- Three-quarters of UK’s SMBs expecting this Christmas to be as tough, if not tougher, than past two

- UK’s ‘Gift of the Year 2022’ winner sees sales down 50% on 2020, 2021

LONDONThree-quarters (76%) of UK small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) believe that this Christmas will be as challenging as the past two, Covid-struck Christmases according to new research commissioned by Wise Business, Wise’s international banking service for business.

The independent research, for which Censuswide polled more than 1,000 SMBs nationwide, finds that more than a third (37%) believe this Christmas will be more challenging than the last two, while 28% believe it will be just as tough. Less than a quarter (24%) think it will be an easier ride.

Whereas recent Christmas blues have been caused by late lockdowns and dinners by Zoom, this year’s is set to be blighted by an energy crunch and rising costs. 57% of SMBs say energy bills are one of their main concerns this winter, while half (51%) fear inflation.

Faced with a tough Christmas, almost half of SMBs (48%) say they will have to increase their prices. This, though, will cause a problem for consumers: a separate Censuswide survey finds that 38% of British consumers plan to drop their spending on presents this year.

SMBs are planning to adapt and innovate in the face of rising costs. Perhaps leaning on digital savvy developed during Covid, 30% of SMBs plan to expand their presence online and 26% aim to grow their social media presence.

And, while many of us are relishing the chance to drive - rather than dial - home this Christmas, SMBs are looking abroad, with almost a quarter (24%) planning to expand their presence overseas.

Sadly, some SMBs also plan to take some tough decisions, with a minority intending to cut headcount (13%), pay (9%) and their high street presence (8%).

UK’s ‘Gift of the Year’ maker one of many facing tough Christmas

Spice Kitchen is a Manchester-based business that sells high quality spices. The mother-son business won this year’s ‘Gift of the Year’ award for its top quality spice tins, which not only contain artisan spices but are wrapped in beautiful sari cloth.

Having started life as an idea shared over Christmas dinner in 2012, the business has long seen Christmas as a vital time for sales. Yet this year’s Christmas is proving tougher than any other.

Sanjay Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, Spice Kitchen, said:

“Christmas 2022 is proving to be a Christmas like no other. Our online sales are down by half compared to this time last year and the year before. People just don’t have the money to spend, which is a huge challenge for businesses like ours that sees so many of its sales come from gifting. But we’re determined to get through this. Sales are slowly starting to uptick and we’ve been able to keep Spice Kitchen going through our wholesale business.

“Importantly, we’re also expanding overseas. Having already launched in many European countries, as well as the Middle East and North America, we’re seeking to grow our presence in these markets and enter new ones. We’ve found that great flavours are popular everywhere, not just back here in Blighty.”

Wise Business aims to help those SMBs, like Spice Kitchen, that are growing abroad despite a tough Christmas. Wise Business’s international banking services are fast, affordable, transparent and convenient. Whether a business is sourcing sari cloth, selling spices overseas, hiring international staff or doing something else entirely, Wise Business helps SMBs expand their international presence.

Clara Nobre, Head of Wise Business, said:

“After years of turbulence and two Christmases blighted by Covid, this festive season was supposed to be a relief for businesses. For reasons beyond businesses’ control, it’s not. However, for those that can, international expansion offers new growth and opportunities Wise Business exists to help this, to provide SMBs with the tools they need to head overseas.”

Today, Wise Business has more than 400,000 active customers worldwide.

ENDS

About Wise
Wise is a global technology company, building the best way to move money around the world. With the Wise account people and businesses can hold over 50 currencies, move money between countries and spend money abroad. Large companies and banks use Wise technology too; an entirely new cross-border payments network that will one day power money without borders for everyone, everywhere. However you use the platform, Wise is on a mission to make your life easier and save you money.

Co-founded by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, Wise launched in 2011 under its original name TransferWise. It is one of the world's fastest growing, most profitable tech companies and is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker, WISE.

Over 15 million people and businesses use Wise, which processes over £9 billion in cross-border transactions every month, saving customers over £1 billion a year.

About the research
Research was conducted by Censuswide. 1,000 senior figures at SMBs were polled between 08.11.22 and 14.11.22.

Sam Barnett, samuel.barnett@wise.com, 07769202606

Source: Wise