One in five Irish SMEs fear their future is at risk due to Covid-19

Quarter of Irish SMEs sold products and services online for the first time after pandemic began



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11 August 2020

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Nearly one in five (18%) small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in Ireland believe their future viability is at risk due to the commercial impact of Covid-19. This comes from research conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Visa.

The ‘Visa Back to Business’ study highlighted fundamental shifts in Ireland’s retail landscape post lockdown, with 68% of shoppers now using less cash and preferring digital payment methods.

Contactless payments have surged in popularity in Ireland. At 70%, Irish shoppers use contactless more than in any other market surveyed. Indeed, 57% of Irish shoppers said they would switch stores to tap to pay for goods and services.

Meanwhile, consumers have wholly embraced online shopping. Visa found that 28% of shoppers bought groceries or household items online for the first time during lockdown.

Small businesses have been quick to adapt to these trends. One third of Irish SMEs said they now accept less cash or have stopped accepting it altogether. Companies have adopted new practices to maintain business; 24% of SMEs surveyed sold products or services online for the first time as a result of Covid-19, and 17% now offer home delivery.

Irish SMEs have also experienced a wave of support from the public, with 70% of those surveyed claiming that their local community has rallied behind them.

Visa recently launched a new campaign to support independent businesses adapt to a post Covid-19 environment. ‘Where You Shop Matters’ provides assistance in three areas that are critical to the economic recovery of European communities:

  • Enabling SMEs to build an online presence: Irish SMEs can freely access Visa’s Digital Business Kit, which provides end-to-end guidance – from setting up and growing a digital presence, to transferring essential parts of a business online.
  • Empowering small firms to take advantage of digital payments: Visa, together with the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) and participating banks, rolled out plans to raise the payment limit from €30.00 to €50.00 on all contactless enabled debit and credit cards. It also updated its self-serve Point of Sale (POS) portal with new material referencing the €50 limit.
  • Encourage consumers to support small businesses: As businesses begin to reopen, Visa backed the national Champion Green initiative which encourages consumers to shop local. Supported by Kilkenny Design and Visa, in association with Retail Excellence, Small Firms Association and Chambers Ireland, Champion Green is a consumer marketing initiative backed by a €1 million investment to drive support for local businesses.

“In the face of the extraordinary challenges caused by Covid-19, many Irish SMEs have shown entrepreneurial spirit, finding new ways to keep serving consumers,” said Philip Konopik, Ireland country manager, Visa. “Nevertheless, as the economy re-opens, many will need our help to recover and operate in a new economic environment. That’s why Visa is working with partners to offer small firms across Ireland the tools, advice and expertise so they can adapt their business for the new retail landscape and take advantage of ecommerce and digital payments.”



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