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Almost 1 in 5 small businesses won’t survive 2022 without a bumper Christmas

2-minute read

Catriona Smith

24 November 2021

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Simply Business research reveals that festive trading is a lifeline for small businesses, with almost a fifth saying they won’t survive 2022 without a bumper Christmas.

From our survey of almost 600 small business owners, we found out how reliant they are on Christmas trading, and the consequences if they struggle with sales this December.

This year’s festive season is a much-needed lifeline

Ahead of Black Friday, we spoke to business owners across the country to find out how important the trading period in the lead up to Christmas is for their business.

More than one third of business owners told us they make more than 20 per cent of their annual revenue over the festive season.

What’s more, 60 per cent say a good festive season would be a lifeline for their business as they continue to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

But worryingly, 27 per cent are ‘not confident’ about their chances of a successful festive period this year. With 10 per cent of business owners expecting Christmas trading to be worse than last year, regardless of the lack of lockdowns and restrictions this time around.

Survey reveals importance of festive trading for small businesses

Compounding challenges for businesses this Christmas

On top of a difficult 18 months and the continuing impact of the pandemic, our research highlights some of the biggest challenges for small businesses over Christmas:

  • 21 per cent say attracting customers
  • 17 per cent say earning enough to stay in business
  • 20 per cent say the impact of continuing supply chain issues
  • 52 per cent say they fear future lockdowns and tighter restrictions (and their impact)

Our UK CEO, Alan Thomas, comments: “While much of the UK prepares for a period of well-earned festive cheer, the feeling among small business owners is likely to be rather more sombre this Christmas.

“Few have been harder hit in the last two years. They’ve faced the pandemic head-on, navigated supply shortages, and adapted to a new normal. They’ve shown resilience in abundance and done all they can to stay afloat. But without a bumper Christmas trading period, one in five small businesses will permanently close in 2022.”

An extra effort to boost sales this Christmas

Small businesses have demonstrated throughout the pandemic how innovative and resourceful they can be.

When it comes to taking steps to prepare for Christmas trading this year, small businesses told us some of the ways they’ve adapted their business.

Business pivot% of businesses
More time to promote their business or more money on advertising28%
New or additional product lines15%
Bought more stock14%
Set up an online shop for the first time10%

Supporting small businesses every day of the year

We’re encouraging shoppers to support small businesses, not just at Christmas but all year round.

To help raise awareness of this important trading window, we’re gathering small business owners from across the country to help us re-record Wizzard’s 70s Christmas hit, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.

Small business owners can register to join our choir and perform in a music video alongside influencers and famous names in the world of business. Registration closes on 27 November 2021.

Find out more about our Christmas Everyday campaign and how we’re pledging to support small businesses all year round.

How are you feeling about the upcoming Christmas trading period? Let us know in the comments.

Photograph 1: Kerkezz/

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