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Retail Small Businesses Struggling to Stay Optimistic in the Face of Significant Supply Chain Challenges

Results of a survey of small business owners about their attitudes towards and experiences with the current supply chain crisis, and found retailers have been hit hardest: 73% of retail small businesses are experiencing negative impacts to their business caused by supply chain issues, and more than a third of these retailers (35%) report significant negative impacts.

The holiday season, which is often a significant revenue driver for retailers, is proving to be even more challenging this year due to supply shortages and delays. And according to survey findings, just 16 percent of owners are very optimistic about an economic recovery.

NEXT Insurance, which provides insurance to small businesses including those in retail and ecommerce, as well as Amazon third party sellers, surveyed more than 500 small business owners of various ages, gender, industries and geographic locations to hear how they're faring amid recent supply chain disruptions where inventory deliveries are delayed, and products are unavailable. The survey found that:

A significant number of small business owners in the retail space expect supply-chain issues to impact sales, revenue and cash flow: About three out of four (73 percent) retail businesses are at least moderately impacted by supply-chain issues, and 62 percent of owners expect supply-chain disruptions to impact sales or revenue. Another 62 percent of retail business owners said these disruptions will have a moderate or high impact on cash flow.

Economic recovery within a year? Retail business owners aren't so sure: Surveyed small business owners were fairly divided when it came to their optimism of having an economic recovery within the next year as the nation continues to grapple with COVID-19. About one third (30%) are either "not at all" or "not very" optimistic about an economic recovery, while 71% are either "somewhat", "very" or "extremely" optimistic. This is a notable drop from NEXT Insurance's small business guide survey from July 2021, which documented that 84% of small business owners said they are somewhat, very or extremely optimistic about a recovery.

Women are weathering the supply chain storm better than men: While it's clear the supply chain disruptions are impacting small retailers across the board, it seems male business owners are having a slightly tougher time: 53 percent of men said they experienced supply chain disruptions, while just 37 percent of women said the same.

"Small businesses have been hit with challenge after challenge the past two years, and it's been a time of unprecedented  struggle met with remarkable resilience," said Suzanne DuFore, Head of Research at NEXT Insurance. "These findings make it abundantly clear that retailers need support from their communities now more than ever, whether in the form of customers or the right toolsets to make weathering these storms even a little bit easier."

To read more about survey findings.