Sanity over sales priority for Australian businesses this Christmas

18 Dec 2013

More than one quarter confident of a better Christmas period

Online sales strategy still lacking

Local businesses are more focused on retaining their sanity than making sales this festive season – though many are confident of improved revenue, according to Australia’s largest accounting software provider, MYOB.

The lead up to Christmas is a frenetic period for many of the SMEs surveyed, with almost half of nearly 400 SMEs applying the most focus to simply ‘getting through the workload with their sanity intact’ (45%). 11% intend to focus most on customer retention and 8% on offline sales of products and services. This was followed closely by customer acquisition strategies, the range of products/services offered, and prices and margins (6% each).

The latest MYOB Insights Panel research, run over the beginning of December, revealed SMEs in South Australia and Northern Territory will feel the most pressure these holidays, with 53% focusing on getting through with their sanity intact. This compared to 37% of those in Queensland.

It’s a similar story for business operators in building and trades, with 50% focusing on getting through the festive season compared to 32% of those in retail. Also, female operators were slightly more worried, at 48% versus 42% of males.

Further, only 7% have an e-commerce website ready for the Christmas and New Year period while a further 11% have a website but haven’t got round to enabling it for e-commerce yet. This compares to more than half saying they have a website but don’t need online sales during this time of year (52%).

When asked about special marketing campaigns for the lead up to Christmas, only 10% said they had one. While 39% said a campaign didn’t apply to their business, the remaining 51% didn’t have one.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed said, “More than one in 10 business owners are missing out on customer acquisition opportunities by putting their e-commerce trading capability on the back burner. It's crucial to make your business presence known via awebsite and ensure it's enabled for sales if there's an opportunity to capture customers that way, especially at Christmas and in summer when spending is high.

“It’s also vital to tailor your marketing to seasonal trends, whether that’s the festive season or the depths of winter, to enhance your chances of meeting customer demand. With so much going on it can be tempting to cut back on brand building activities, but I encourage business owners to step back and consider whether that really is the right move. Attracting new customers always appears in our research as a top pain point for many SMEs; establishing a website and adapting marketing strategies can be a really effective way to win business.”

Despite little focus on online commerce and marketing, the survey highlights most businesses will enjoy a solid Christmas.

“The survey is good news for local businesses and the economy,” said Mr Reed. “With 27% expecting a revenue increase and 54% forecasting the same revenue as last Christmas, we’re setting up for a happy New Year.”

MYOB product information, research results, business tips, discussions, customer service and more visit  MYOB.com.au,The Pulse blog, MYOB Twitter, MYOB Facebook or MYOB LinkedIn.

-ENDS-

For further comment or to arrange an interview please contact:

Kristy Sheppard

MYOB Public Relations & Corporate Affairs Manager

P: 02 9089 9068 / M: 0407 450 860 /

E: kristy.sheppard@myob.com

Carla Dovgan

Haystac Public Affairs Account Manager

Tel: 02 8094 7586 

Mob: 0424 999 740 0

Email: myob@haystac.com.au

About MYOB Australia

Established in 1991, MYOB is Australia's largest business management solutions provider. It makes life easier for approx. 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand, by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and now spends more than AU$30 million annually on research and development. In 2013, MYOB expanded its offerings with the acquisition of accounting solutions provider BankLink. For more information, visit myob.com.au.