Executive summary:

  • The number of SMMEs in South Africa declined by 11% (or 290 000) year-on-year (y-o-y) from 2.65 million to 2.36 million in 2020Q3. Of this contraction, 232 000 occurred in 2020Q2. A further 58 000 SMMEs closed for business in 2020Q3, despite the general economic rebound during the third quarter.
  • Of all jobs lost in the economy, 90% were lost in the SMME sector. Including owners, SMME employment contracted by 1.5 million in the year to 2020Q3. The decline would have been worse, were it not for the increase in SMMEs and employment in agriculture in the 15 months to 2020Q3.
  • Total employment provided by SMMEs declined by 14% between 2019Q3 and 2020Q3 to 10.1 million.
  • The overall structure of the SMME sector remained relatively stable despite the devastating pandemic impact.
  • The SME share in the total turnover of all enterprises increased by 1.7 percentage points to 38.8% in the year to 2020Q3, suggesting that their relative financial position (vis-a-vis large enterprises) held up surprisingly well.Download the report and the accompanying presentation:

Note: Previous seda research outputs can be accessed here.