The SMEs questioned consider the market and competitive environment to be more volatile than stable. Around a third of those surveyed expect significant changes within the next year. They cite technological change and different customer requirements as the main drivers for alterations.
More than half of all those surveyed view the expected changes as opportunities, while risks predominate for around 20 per cent. Risks referred to are price falls, cost pressure and sinking margins, globalisation and increasing international competition, decreasing customer loyalty and new customer requirements, as well as the lack of qualified staff.
Those surveyed see opportunities in digitisation and the use of new technologies, a focus on certain market niches and the location of Switzerland as a synonym for quality and reliability.
Weighing up risks
As well as opportunities and risks, major changes mean uncertainty. “That's why it's important for a company to review its risk situation regularly and decide in a targeted manner which risks it can bear itself and which it should have covered by insurance,” explains Adrian Kollegger, Head of Non-Life Switzerland and a member of Helvetia's Group Executive Board. “Even in a changed environment, we want to offer our customers optimal protection and are therefore gradually adapting our offer to the new circumstances.” Helvetia thus launched cyber insurance in January 2018. This insurance can be used by companies to cover various risks relating to digital data and software. These include, for example, the damage or manipulation of data due to internal sabotage or the intentional installation of harmful software.
About the study
Changes are of huge strategic relevance for companies, as they can influence the long-term competitiveness of companies positively or negatively. The SME Review 2018 examined the opportunities and risks that changes mean for Swiss SMEs. The results are based on an online survey carried out nationwide between January and February 2018. The results were supplemented by expert interviews with representatives from trade and professional associations as well as various companies. The findings and results of further investigations and analyses by trade associations, institutions and companies were also included in the research. The result is a comprehensive, industry-specific and multi-faceted image of changes in Swiss SMEs. The SME Review 2018 was able to be carried out thanks to the financial support and content-related assistance of Helvetia Insurance and BDO Switzerland.