New research has revealed that one in three Australians started a small business-or ‘side hustle’-since the COVID-19 pandemic began-or plan to start one in the next 12 months.
The survey–carried out by the Commonwealth Bank(CBA)–showed that9% of respondents started a business between March 2020 and January 2022, whilst16%started trading in the past 12 months.
The CBA says this confirms “sustained entrepreneurial activity among Australians since the Covid pandemic.”
This insight is backed up by Australian Bureau of Statistics data-showing new business entriesgrew19.7% in the 2022 financial year. This was significantly higher than average and reflected workplace changes during Covid–with many people growing hobbies into side hustles.
The pandemic also sparked a rapid rise in online businesses. IBISWorld reports that online shopping businesses increased13.9% from 2022–now sitting at over83,000.
The behaviour of online shoppers has also changed,with30.3% of consumers buying products online through social media. In addition, more than 60% of Australian consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable and ethically made products.
Australian small businesses have risen to the new challenges, with nearly half moving to maintain market share by shifting towards online shopping.
Industries showing the most growth in online sales include fashion, followed by toys, hobbies & DIY, and then electronics.
The increase in online shopping has also seen Australian businesses boost their spending on digital marketing. The average jump in online marketing expenditure is 6%.
Interestingly, around 60% of small food and beverage companies now spend 80%or more of their marketing budget online, compared to less than half before the Covid-19 pandemic.