The ‘Opportunity in Change’ research report from Acquis asked 1,250 SME decision-makers about their investment plans, their current business concerns and their views on key opportunities.

The study found that nearly one-third (%) of SMEs who took part in the survey plan to fund investment through leasing – making it the preferred choice over bank loans, credit cards and other methods of finance.

The research gives granular insight into SMEs’ investment plans and priorities on a country and industry level. It has found that, while the industry is still adapting to ongoing economic pressures, commitment to investing is increasing.

The new data also shows that the majority of businesses across Europe (50%) are planning to invest in the next twelve months – an increase of more than 10% since 2021.

Nick Leader, CEO at Acquis, said: “With inflation, rising energy prices and a raft of other socio-economic factors affecting businesses in recent years, the question of whether SMEs plan to withhold their commitment to invest has been a key concern.

“In fact, our research shows that the majority of SMEs are planning to fuel their potential for growth and resilience with investments in the relatively short term. Many are already taking steps to secure and strengthen their place in the market, and this is good news for the leasing industry.”

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Key findings from the research also show that:

  • Interest in subscription-based products and services is rapidly growing
    66% of SMEs in Europe would now consider a subscription-based product, and this figure has increased 164% since 2021.
  • SMEs see cost and pricing optimisations as a key growth opportunity
    With nearly half (46%) of European SMEs naming this as their top opportunity for growth.
  • Commitment to sustainability is growing, and fundamental to the future of
    97% have or are planning to, adapt their products/services to be more sustainable.

James Rudolf, CCO at Acquis, said: “The future of leasing is being shaped as we speak, and as the pace of change increases, it’s more important than ever to understand businesses’ goals and priorities.

“Our latest research provides insight from SME decision-makers in the UK and across Europe, revealing emerging trends and opportunities across the leasing industry.

“And though economic factors continue to have an effect, the data we have gathered suggests that we are not only on the road to recovery but that innovation and diversification are taking place too.”

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