60% of SMEs are unable to recover their sales in 2023 due to inflation, reports Cepyme

Three out of four small and medium-sized companies have avoided transferring the increase in costs to the final prices.

60% of SMEs are unable to recover their sales in 2023 due to inflation, reports Cepyme

Three out of four small and medium-sized companies have avoided transferring the increase in costs to the final prices


59.12% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) fail to recover their sales in 2023, according to the Cepyme Barometer

In addition, three out of four small and medium-sized companies have completely avoided transferring the increase in their costs to the final prices, the study indicates.

However, despite the effort made by SMEs, sales have fallen in 27% of cases, while they remain frozen in 32% of companies. To this is added that the increase in costs and the non-rebound in sales also impacts business margins.

In this sense, the employers emphasize that 60% of the SMEs surveyed affirm that their business margins have been narrowed, affecting the viability of 13.1% of them.

This report also describes a scenario of economic recovery with an uneven impact on companies and responds both to accumulated inflation and rising labor and tax costs, as well as the weakening of consumption in the final stretch of 2022 and early 2023, based on a incomplete recovery in this area.

Despite this, Cepyme indicates that companies have contributed to containing inflation in order not to lose more sales, since 36% have maintained their prices despite the escalation of costs and 41% have increased them less than the inflation. In 2% of cases, they have even proceeded to lower them, says the report.

The employers have taken advantage of this study to ask public administrations to contain the tax bill that companies bear, and especially, the increase in social contributions. They also request that any initiative to raise corporate tax pressure be abandoned.

In this sense, 80% of the companies surveyed suspend the Government's economic policy, for "not considering it appropriate to the situation", and 93% have little or no confidence that European funds can strengthen the recovery, since they perceive them as "virtually inaccessible".

"The additional costs faced by Spanish SMEs undermine their ability to gain size, as well as their competitiveness in the foreign national market," Cepyme said in a statement.

Despite the fact that sales have stagnated or fallen in 59.12% of companies in the first quarter of the year, 19.5% of SMEs have obtained good sales growth rates that beat inflation, although Cepyme advises that "it is difficult to quantify what part is due to price increases or increases in sales volume".

On the other hand, 21.38% of small and medium-sized companies registered increases in sales, but less than the rise in prices, and only one in four expects to register sales increases in the following 12 months.

The Cepyme report, which has collected more than 200 responses issued by companies during the first half of 2023, finds that only one in five SMEs (21.25%) has transferred the increase in their costs to prices.

This means that four out of five (78.7%) have made the effort to assume the extra costs they bear in their margins.

The main concerns that SMEs reflect in the survey have to do with costs: 57.5% are concerned about the energy bill; to 51.88%, labor costs, which includes the rise in contributions and "the drag effect of the minimum interprofessional wage", something that the report reflects in that 73.55% of the companies register increases in the average salary of their template.

Half (50%) are concerned about the tax bill, "supported by the creation of new tax figures, in a context of high inflation, rising costs and escalating financial burden," says the employer.

95% of the SMEs surveyed have said that they have been negatively affected by the increase in costs, while just over half (55.7%) see how this has harmed their competitiveness compared to their counterparts in other countries, which which has meant a great obstacle in exports.

However, 8.6% of SMEs in this scenario are preparing to export for the first time in the next twelve months.

Given the economic outlook of inflation and rising costs, SMEs have decided to take measures to deal with this situation. For example, 46.67% have responded that they will reduce their investment, 19.4% have said that they will seek financing, 26% will suspend hiring and 16.3% will adjust schedules.

Among other measures, almost half of the SMEs (45.4%) are also postponing or suspending their growth plans and 17.6% are restructuring their workforce.

Finally, the report shows that two out of three companies (66.47%) rate the economic situation as bad or very bad due to rising costs, inflation and bureaucratic obstacles, compared to 9.41% who see it as good and 24.1% who see it as normal.

And only 15% believe that the economic situation will improve in the twelve months following the preparation of the report commissioned by the employer, compared to 43.2% who believe that it will get worse, "which is not an incentive for investment and employment", warns Cepyme.