Bredin Report: New data reveals big SMB differences by age and industry

Small and midsized business (SMBs) are optimistic about their prospects for 2023 – some very optimistic. Seventy-seven percent of SMBs say they’ll grow this year, and 46% expect to increase revenues by 10% or more versus 2022, according to Bredin’s March wave of the SMB Pulse survey of 500 U.S.-based principals.

Growth outlook is more nuanced by industry group. Here are expectations for SMB double-digit growth in 2023:

Industry growth outlook

The difference in double-digit growth outlook is much more dramatic by generation:

Growth outlook by respondent age

To understand how outlook translates into SMB priorities, it’s key to look by industry and generation too.

While SMBs overall are most focused on customer retention and maintaining cash flow, SMBs in professional services prioritize data security – much more so than those in other industries. Keeping customer data secure is critical to their business success. Meanwhile, inflation and supply chain issues are keeping SMBs in retail/wholesale and manufacturing more focused on cost containment than SMBs in other industries.

Top five SMB priorities, by industry

Likewise, Millennials and Gen Z are much more focused on cost management than their older peers. Gen X SMB principals are more focused on customer acquisition and retention than either younger or older SMB principals.

Top five SMB priorities, by generation

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About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.