SMEs remain upbeat about domestic growth for Q4 2023: ASSOCHAM – Dun & Bradstreet Small Business Confidence Index

MUMBAI, India, Jan. 18, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Dun & Bradstreet, a leading global provider of business decisioning data and analytics along with ASSOCHAM released the Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI) which highlights that small and medium businesses in India are confident about their business performance for Q4 2023. The index, which measures the level of optimism of small and medium businesses on key business parameters such as sales, employment, prices, inventory, and investment, stood at 105.5 in Q4 2023, an uptick of 0.5% compared to Q3 2023. 

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“As is clear from the latest IMF World Economic Outlook, the Indian economy is projected to be the fastest growing amongst the leading economies of the world. Our survey amongst the SMEs’ executives clearly points towards significant contributions from the small businesses,” said ASSOCHAM Secretary General, Mr Deepak Sood.

Business optimism level among small and medium enterprises continue to exhibit a positive outlook for Q4 2023, with marginal uptick of 0.5 percentage points on a q-o-q basis. The demand situation is buoyed domestically, with expectation for new orders at a seven-quarter high to 85% in Q4 2023.

“Despite global geopolitical unrest, India’s small and medium businesses maintain their festive spirit, witnessing unwavering demand momentum in Q4 2023. While deeply connected to the global business landscape, these businesses face vulnerability amidst economic uncertainty. Domestically, firms exhibit confidence in tackling operational challenges and securing their share amidst intensifying competition. Ending the year on a high note in sales and profitability, businesses approach expansion with optimism yet caution, focusing adeptly on fixed capital and human resource investment,” said Mr Avinash Gupta, Managing Director, Dun & Bradstreet India.

Although the growth in demand optimism has been modest on sequential basis, it remains high as the momentum of great Indian festive seasons continue in the fourth quarter. The survey highlights the growing profitability expectations, which is at a seven-quarter high of 81.5%. The high optimism is also being echoed in similarly solid expectations for increase in selling prices. Despite their unrelenting expansion, small and medium enterprises continue being optimistic with a pinch of caution. This can be seen as 77% of respondents feel confident about undertaking new investments and 74% are anticipating expansion of their employee base for Q4 2023. The credit availability outlook for SMEs stays high reflecting strong performance put up by SMEs.

“The buoyant trajectory of the Indian economy, fuelled by the festive season and escalating consumerism, continues to sustain high levels of optimism among SMEs. However, persistent market uncertainties, amplified by global economic challenges and an unclear demand outlook post-festive season, cast a shadow over expectations of elevated finished inventory levels. A notable 80% of respondents anticipate an increase in inventory levels. Despite these challenges, the robust availability of credit in the economy bodes well for SMEs seeking expansion through increased capital expenditure and human resource investment. The primary downside risk lies in cost pressures arising from volatile commodity prices, exacerbated by escalating geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and subdued export demand,” said Dr Arun Singh, Global Chief Economist, Dun & Bradstreet.

However, the small and medium businesses in India remain exposed to the vagaries of global geopolitical and economic uncertainties, especially the Israel-Hamas war continues to pose a persistent concern on crude oil as well as commodity prices. Although input material prices remain in ebb for the time being, businesses are wary of a sudden surge and volatilities affecting their businesses as a miniscule 3% of SMEs are expecting a drop in input costs. The expectations for increase in export orders continue to remain a major drag with 71% of SMEs expecting a subdued export order- lower by 4 percentage points than the previous quarter.

About ASSOCHAM:

ASSOCHAM initiated its endeavour of value creation for Indian industry in 1920. It was established by promoter Chambers, representing all regions of India. Having in its fold over 400 Chambers and Trade Associations, and serving over 450,000 lakh members across India. ASSOCHAM has emerged as the fountainhead of Knowledge for Indian industry, which is all set to redefine the dynamics of growth and development in the Knowledge Based Economy. More information available on www.assocham.org

About Dun & Bradstreet:

Dun & Bradstreet, a leading global provider of business decisioning data and analytics, enables companies around the world to improve their business performance. Dun & Bradstreet’s Data Cloud fuels solutions and delivers insights that empower customers to accelerate revenue, lower cost, mitigate risk and transform their businesses. Since 1841, companies of every size have relied on Dun & Bradstreet to help them manage risk and reveal opportunity. For more information on Dun & Bradstreet, please visit www.dnb.com.

Dun & Bradstreet Information Services India Private Limited is headquartered in Mumbai and provides clients with data-driven products and technology-driven platforms to help them take faster and more accurate decisions across finance, risk, compliance, information technology and marketing. Working towards Government of India’s vision of creating an Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) by supporting the Make in India initiative, Dun & Bradstreet India has a special focus on helping entrepreneurs enhance their visibility, increase their credibility, expand access to global markets, and identify potential customers & suppliers, while managing risk and opportunity.

India is also the home to Dun & Bradstreet Technology & Corporate Services LLP, which is the Global Capabilities Center (GCC) of Dun & Bradstreet supporting global technology delivery using cutting-edge technology. Located at Hyderabad, the GCC has a highly skilled workforce of over 500 employees, and focuses on enhanced productivity, economies of scale, consistent delivery processes and lower operating expenses.

Visit www.dnb.co.in for more information. Click here for all Dun & Bradstreet India press releases.

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