6 in 10 Singapore businesses are in survival mode: here’s why

The survey was conducted among 300 local business leaders from July to August 2021


6 in 10 Singapore businesses are in survival mode: here’s why. Source:

According to American Express research, almost 6 in 10 (59%) Singapore business leaders describe their companies as surviving. They unveiled the new waves of COVID-19 are their main challenge in 2021. In fact, 41% had considered closing their businesses from January to August 2021 due to pandemic volatility.

Nevertheless, most businesses remain cautiously optimistic about the future. For instance, 67% expect 2021 annual sales to increase compared to pre-pandemic annual sales in 2019—an improvement from 53% in 2020.

The top reasons for their optimism in 2021 are the increase in revenue from expanding their businesses online (46%), support from new customers (44%), and continued support from regular customers (40%).

While local businesses are more optimistic after almost two years since the pandemic started, its volatility weighs heavily on business leaders’ minds, including ours. The recent spike in cases is an example of the fluidity of the situation and difficulty in planning
Ho Yat-Wai, Country Manager, American Express Singapore

In fact, 71% of respondents shared they are optimistic they can thrive in the new normal—with 76% having made adjustments to sustain their business in the next 12 months.

The top two changes businesses plan to make in the new normal are to focus more on e-commerce and communicate more with customers via social media.

At the same time, only 4 in 10 business leaders now have a clear long-term strategy compared to 8 in 10 before the pandemic. Among those who do not currently have a business plan, 23% cite the uncertainty from the pandemic as a key reason. Another 25% changed their business strategy to become more agile to better respond to changes, rather than focusing on long-term planning.

We’ve reported that Amex teamed up with US fintech to expand virtual card offering.


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