Hitachi Capital Business Finance have released their latest Business Barometer. The latest report looks into the confidence levels of businesses in the third Quarter. In the latest release, confidence levels have returned to levels that are similar to those seen previously in Q1, following the dip as the General Election was held.
Even though the levels of confidence in the industry have returned to higher levels, the proportion of businesses that are acting on these confidence levels are lower. The proportion of businesses that have been making investments in order to help their business to expand has dropped during Q3.
The findings have been released following research that has been commissioned by Hitachi Capital Business Finance. The research asked more than 1,000 small business owners from a range of different sectors. The survey asked the businesses what steps that were being taken to try and achieve growth.
The third quarter of this year, 39% of SMEs have said that they are expecting to see either significant or modest levels of growth over the course of the next 6 months. This percentage has risen to nearly 40% from 33% of SMEs making the same prediction in Q2. This percentage is also higher than the same period last year.
Despite the higher expectation for growth, when comparing the responses between Q1 2017 and this quarter, there has been a dip in the proportion of businesses that making investment overall. The companies that are looking into expanding operations into new markets, or overseas has dropped from 20% in Q1 to 15% in Q3. On top of this, the SMEs that are looking at taking on new employees has also dropped from 17% to 13% in the same periods.
This trend has been exacerbated when looking more closely at specific sectors. The number of businesses in the Transport and Distribution sectors that are predicting growth has remained at the 40% level for the second and the third quarter. However, the proportion of companies in the transport sector looking to expand has been halved from 30% in the first quarter to 15% in Q3 2017.