Australian small businesses split on Amazon entry

Peter Terlato 31 March 2017

small and big business

Beware: the giant Internet-based retailer is on its way.

Anticipation among the public for Amazon's Australia launch has been enormous but some Australian small business owners are concerned the e-commerce giant's presence may be damaging to their endeavours, while others are more optimistic and excited about the incoming competition.

A new survey released by MYOB found more than one quarter (27%) of Aussie small business owners were worried about the overseas Internet-based retailer entering the Australian marketplace, while a similar proportion (26%) were feeling positive about the arrival of such a competitor.

The majority (57%) of Australia's small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) postulate international competition in the local market would force them to innovate and reinvigorate business strategy.

However, two fifths (43%) think this penetration will cause loss of customers and loss of revenue.

The survey also found a high proportion of SMEs (42%) think state and federal governments unfairly favour metropolitan businesses over regionally-based companies.

More than half (59%) agree regional SMEs are "quiet achievers", bagging bucks without the bang.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed said Aussie SMEs were extremely resilient in the face of constant market changes.

"While there is some hesitation around new players to the market, business owners will need to assess the impact once they have arrived and, as they have always done, adapt to this change in order to remain commercially competitive," Reed said.

Amazon Australia, including Amazon Prime deliveries and Amazon Fresh groceries, launches late in 2018.

A report analysing business conditions for Australian SMEs found confidence levels are incredibly fragile, with very few firms content with their cash flow and non-bank lines of credit becoming more prevalent.

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