Slow-Mo Recovery: SMBs Are Worried About Delta And Rising Inventory Costs

In a trend that court hurt email service vendors, small businesses, are seeing sluggish recovery and continue to be worried about the Delta variant’s impact, according to a new study by Alignable. 

Of those polled, 80% of owners are worried about their ability to recover, up from 76% in the prior month. Fewer than 20% are unconcerned about Delta.  

In addition, 11% now say they’re starting to feel the impact, versus 4% in June. Moreover, 34% are feeling a significant impact, compared to 22% in June.  

And 62% say they are fully open -- down from 68% in June. In addition, 43% are seeing half or less of the monthly revenue they earned prior to COVID-19 pandemic.  

COVID-19 is their first worry, but inflation, including rising inventory and supply costs, is a close second. Overall, 85% are facing higher inventory costs.



Supply and inventory costs have risen by more than 25% for 29% of SMBs, and by 11% to 25% by 33%. Another 23% report increases of 1 to 10%, and 13% say their costs are the same. 

However, 49% are maintaining their pre-COVID-19 price levels, and 22% have increased them by 1% to 10%. Only 7% have raised prices by more than 25% and 7$ by over 25%. Yet 5% have lowered them by 1% to 10%. 

At the same time, 62% are having trouble rehiring or finding employees, a 12% increase over July. And 40% say hiring is significantly more difficult, while 23% feel it’s just a little more difficult and 36% that it’s the same.  

The study includes live quotes such as these:

  • “Due to Delta, we were down 37% in August and are dead slow this month.”
  • “Coming out of COVID, events, in general, were up and down.  And now due to Delta, they’re down again. No certainty. It’s so hard to plan for large parties and events.”
  • “Part of my business is in Japan. That country has a vaccine shortage, and the economy has tanked!”
  • “I represent disabled clients who want to obtain Social Security Disability benefits and COVID has increased the number of people who cannot work due to health reasons. That means I’m busier than ever helping them.”
  • “I'm out of business and homeless.”
  • “Business has just about come to a halt. Fear dominates consequences.”
  • “I have closed my business.”
  • “I decided to sell my business at half price and let someone else ride it back up.”
  • “Delivery times are killing us. Customers don’t want to wait 18 weeks for a door when the delivery times used to be just 2 weeks.” 

 The study reflects data from 2,864 business owners from 8/29/21 to 9/14/21.

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