Two in five micro-sized firms and one in two small and medium-sized firms faced a revenue shortfall during lockdown, between March and June, according to data published by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
The total shortfall across Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) over this period is estimated to be between €6 billion and €10 billion.
The research was undertaken as part of a joint programme of work between the Department of Finance and the Economic and Social Research Institute.
Looking to the end of 2020, the research estimates that the total revenue shortfall for SMEs could amount to between €8 billion and €15 billion, depending on the whether restrictions are reimposed on businesses in part of the country.
Running down internal resources and assets could cover some of this shortfall for firms, but would leave between €4 billion and €8 billion in uncovered losses for the sector.
Conor O’Toole from ESRI, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented economic shock for Irish SMEs. Nearly one in every two small firms suffered a loss during the lockdown phase.
“While many firms had access to their own cash savings to help survive the period, these buffers are likely to deplete, leaving many firms struggling to survive.”
Martina Lawless, research professor at the ESRI, said: “While the estimates for total accumulated losses estimates are extremely substantial, the results also show that these could have been much higher if there had not also been significant reductions in firm expenditure supported by the wage subsidy scheme and deferrals of other payments.”