We are living in challenging times and the economy is not in the best of shape. Most people feel that it will get worse next year and do not foresee a recovery in the foreseeable time. As we can already notice spending has been less and it is affecting the retail industry greatly.
Just as we thought that consumers will try to save by buying from cheaper supply source which might directly benefit the micro and small businesses, the reality is the opposite. High-income earners in top and upper middle of the income pyramid are not compromising on brands preference but they are just simply buying less from the same source.
Whereas for those in the lower middle income group and the bottom income earners, they are simply struggling to make ends meet. Since these groups are the biggest customers to the micro and small businesses, the income for micro and small businesses have since been affected badly.
As for the food and beverage (F&B) sector, those that cater to the high-income groups are not affected since everyone needs to eat. Whether it is in good or bad times, we still need to have at least three meals a day and those in the high-income groups are still dining out on any occasion when required.
Compared to the restaurant chains, however, micro and small food stalls or outlets are losing income since their customers, mostly those from the low-income groups, can no longer afford to eat out due to their shrinking pockets. Like how it has always been, when times are bad the micro and small businesses will be the first ones to be affected. And because they form the biggest groups in our economy, the negative chain reaction from their struggle will always have a huge impact on our economy.
It is sad to see that in the recent Budget 2020 announcement, nothing more was allocated to assist the micro and small businesses. Budget allocation such as the RM30 e-wallet incentive should be channelled to the micro and small businesses as this incentive will benefit the high-income groups as well and in turn see more spending with large chain stores or restaurants.
The reality is that the low-income groups are unable to put money in e-wallet since they don’t have enough money to live on. Besides, all current e-wallet players are mainly targeting large chain stores and restaurants as their merchants. Sidelined, micro and small business are left out from the current digital economy roadmap. In short, sadly, nobody cares for the micro and small businesses.
God bless #MSME and #MakeMicroandSmallBusinessesGreat!