Eight in 10 (80%) Australian small businesses are forecasting online sales growth in the next 12 months, according to Sendle’s 2022 Small Business Survey. 

The survey revealed that majority of small business respondents are optimistic about sales growth in 2023, with 37% of small businesses forecasting a 25 to 75% growth in online orders over the next 12 months.

Small businesses in the automotive and marine industry predict the strongest growth in 2023, with 38% of small businesses forecasting over 75% growth in online orders over the next 12 months. This was closely followed by small businesses in the office furniture and supplies and food and beverage industries who forecasted over 75% growth in online orders over the next 12 months, at 33% and 32% respectively. 

Sendle Australia managing director, Laura Hill said the Small Business survey shows that it’s not all doom and gloom for small businesses.

“The recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales may explain this confidence, with our parcel volumes up 50% during the November sales period. Many small businesses continue to see an uptick in online sales growth, as consumer spending remains resilient,” she said.

However, small businesses acknowledge that next year is set to be a harder grind than 2022. Cost of living pressures and rising inflation is clouding the horizon, with 51% of small businesses reporting that the rising costs of products and services is their top challenge when it comes to online sales growth, compared to 22% of respondents who cited finding customers as their top business challenge. 

Despite this, over half (51%) of respondents said they feel satisfied about the support available, which could include government assistance for small-to-medium businesses.  

Sustainability is a critical business practice that is here to stay, with 55% of respondents selling locally made products. Over one-third (34%) of respondents say their products are ethically or sustainably sourced. Small businesses in the food and beverage industry are leading the way, with one in two (51%) reporting that between 75 to 100% of their products are ethically or sustainably sourced. This is closely followed by small businesses in jewellery and accessories and baby and children sectors, at 48% and 45% respectively.

Sustainability is helping small businesses capture a growing audience that cares about the environment, with 34% reporting that demand for locally produced products has increased over the past 12 months.

Despite the growing interest in sustainability, awareness and knowledge gaps still exist. Around one-third (32%) of small businesses admit that they don’t know whether their products sold are ethically or sustainably sourced. Many struggle to overcome barriers to implementing sustainable practices, with 32% of respondents reporting they’ve not made any changes to their business model or products.