Competitive pressures for businesses have eased markedly, according to PayPal, but that is not enough to stop a quarter of owners from being forced to work on Christmas Day.
In an annual survey of 200 SME owners, PayPal found that competition was the sixth biggest concern in 2018 — well down on the previous year, when rivalry from other players was third on SME owners’ worry list.
Yet according to the research, many more business leaders are feeling stressed this year than last (86 per cent compared with 65 per cent).
That is not a good omen for a relaxing Christmas for Australia’s millions of business owners — in 2017, almost a quarter (23 per cent) said that they had to work on Christmas Day, while a third felt like they didn’t have a Christmas at all.
The biggest cause of these worries, according to PayPal, is cash flow: a weight for 44 per cent of those business leaders it profiled.
Exactly one-third also admitted to being fearful of not meeting customer demands, and an identical proportion are also worried about letting down their friends and families.
So why do they do it?
The work may be hard and the hours long, but self-satisfaction is a major driver pushing business leaders to keep going.
Almost half (46 per cent) of the leaders PayPal profiled said that they take great pride in knowing that Australian customers have purchased products for Christmas gifts.
But, of course, the biggest factor comes down to money.
On average, the businesses polled are expecting a whopping 43 per cent of their total annual revenue to come from Christmas sales.
Some 15 per cent are expecting almost double that figure (75 to 80 per cent of total annual revenue) from the Christmas period, demonstrating the importance of Christmas trade on their ongoing viability.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.