The pandemic presented many challenges for Saskatchewan business. These include closures, revenue losses, layoffs, wasted goods, supply chain issues, uncertainty and great stress. Many business owners and managers consider COVID-19 their biggest challenge ever. As those owners and managers plan out the next few months, it’s natural to wonder when things will return to normal.
Recently, I’ve come across several indications that make me believe the rest of 2021, as well as 2022, are going to be good years for Saskatchewan.
Consumer confidence seems to be returning, and consumers are getting more comfortable with the idea of physically visiting businesses. A June survey by Saskatoon based Insightrix found that over 71% of Saskatchewan consumers are comfortable going to a shopping mall or restaurant. This has improved significantly since their May 20th survey, when numbers were lower with about 60% feeling comfortable.
The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce believes that business confidence is also returning. Their survey found that 47% of Saskatchewan businesses expect to recover to pre-pandemic levels, compared to 25% who do not expect to recover to the same level.
The Conference Board of Canada expects economic growth of 4.8% in Saskatchewan in 2021. This is well above the province’s 20-year average of growth. This growth will largely be driven by the reopening of businesses and better oil, canola and wheat prices.
Finally, the pandemic has helped solidify the value of having locally owned businesses in our communities. Shopify’s research indicates that 57% of Canadian and US consumers are actively looking for local, independently owned businesses to support.
It’s still too early to predict the end of the pandemic. However, I’m greatly encouraged that the vast majority of consumers are ready to visit businesses like yours, and almost half of Saskatchewan businesses are expecting pre-pandemic success. There’s a window of opportunity to re-engage with old customers and earn the support of new customers, and of course Directwest will help you do so where we can.
I wish to express my admiration to all the local business owners who have weathered this great storm, and I wish you great future success.
– Allan Millham, Marketing Manager – Research