Tracking small business sentiment during COVID-19 in South Africa

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: the success of our economy lies in small business. Already, they constitute a disproportionate number of formalised businesses, contribute around one third of GDP and provide employment to millions of South Africans. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many of these small businesses are no longer able to function and worry about the consequences the pandemic is having on their revenue, sales and cash flow. With each day’s lockdown, more and more business owners worry about how they’ll pay their staffs’ next paychecks, if their stock will expire and whether they’ll be able to order the supplies they need when it’s time to reopen.

On a scale of -100 to 100, small business sentiment has dropped to an all time low of -12 (from 35 in Q4 2019). This is the first time we have seen negative sentiment amongst small business owners in South Africa. 

The impact of lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic is felt across all small businesses, but according to survey data collected at the beginning of April, small businesses in Leisure, Travel & Entertainment and Retail are showing the most negative sentiment. Other businesses that are particularly concerned are those with more than five employees and businesses based in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

The information and stats below are based on surveys taken from the Yoco Small Business Pulse. The responses were collected at the beginning of April, from 7 439 business owners across all provinces and industries. 


To view this information by the industry that your business is in, click on your industry below:

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The Small Business Recovery Monitor

The recovery monitor is a live small business transaction data resource. It shows the daily progression of small businesses as they recover and re-start after the COVID-19 national lockdown. The index provides unique insight into the small business economic landscape. Click here to view it.

Previous Small Business Pulse Editions

Q4 2019 Pulse

The learning Pulse

Q3 2019 Pulse

Year in review

Q2 2019 Pulse

Off-peak for small businesses

Q1 2019 Pulse


Q4 2018 Pulse

Technology in small business

Q3 2018 Pulse

Capital for small businesses