Liquor store business enquiries surge
The so-called “Great Resignation” is fueling soaring business enquiries, particularly for cafes and liquor stores, as COVID-weary Aussies seek to become their own boss. Image – Supplied
  • Strong buyer interest in small to medium business ignited during "perfect storm" of post-COVID market factors
  • Cafes and coffee shops remain most sought-after business type, as liquor stores surge following declaration as essential service
  • Business sales activity forecasted to increase, fueled by record low interest rates and return to normality

More Australians are looking to secure their own business, prompted by an urge to become their own boss in a strong post-COVID business sphere.

Dedicated business sales platform, AnyBusiness.com.au predicts business transactions to pick up the pace as market factors converge to promote interest in small and medium-sized businesses.

AnyBusiness Director of Operations Mary Tamvakologos noted the prediction to be positive for the business market, describing the alignment of strong demand, short supply and rising consumer and business confidence as the “perfect storm”.

Business reignited as cafes remain most desired

Ms Tamvakologos explained that despite the hardships for small businesses since the onset of COVID, confidence in the business sector is being strongly restored.

“On AnyBusiness’s directory of businesses for sale, we have seen listings slump from almost 22,000 preCOVID to just over 16,000 currently. That’s despite website traffic almost doubling and buyer enquiries remaining stable over the past 18 months.”

Mary Tamvakologos, AnyBusiness Director of Operations

Ms Tamvakologos added that the lifting of lockdowns in the southern states is likely to push these figures up even further.

The food industry has surprisingly prevailed throughout lockdowns and patronage restrictions, with cafes and coffees holding their place as the most in-demand business type, followed by takeaway food stores and cleaning businesses.

“Cafes were always our biggest source of enquiry and that hasn’t changed with COVID,” said Ms Tamvakologos.

She explained that while the sheer number of cleaning businesses may factor into their popularity, they are also easy to operate in terms of skillset and equipment.

“They aren’t like specialised manufacturing or professional services where
the barriers to entry are much higher.”

Liquor store enquiries surge after declared essential service

Buyer interest in liquor businesses has also risen rapidly, as owners are poised to receive great value following the declaration of bottle shops as an essential service.

“Their profitability has also increased as more people consumed beer and wine at
home instead of at hospitality venues,” Ms Tamvakologos said.

She added that the inability of listing volumes to keep pace with rising demand has built upward pressure on bottle shop prices due to their scarce nature.

Multiple other business types are ranking in high popularity with prospective buyers, including restaurants, service stations, supermarkets, childcare centres, news agencies and motels.

While most business types rising in popularity typically hold large listing volumes, others that are occupying sales platforms in large numbers include hair and beauty salons, gyms and sports complexes, construction firms, and retailers.

NSW and Vic charge ahead as QLD falls behind

As for the state-by-state outlook, businesses in New South Wales and Victoria are dominating the market in terms of transactions and enquiries with more room to grow, while Queensland dawdles behind.

“We have seen a noticeable decrease in enquiries about businesses based in Queensland, and we put it down to the fact the borders were closed, so people couldn’t get into the state. Lots of people relocate from the southern states to Queensland, and that has virtually dried up,” said Ms Tamvakologos.

Mary Tamvakologos AnyBusiness
Mary Tamvakologos, AnyBusiness Director of Operations

She did note, however, that this appears to be reversing with enquiries beginning to increase in the new year.

“For WA, it has been a tough climate for the past 2-3 years for business sales, but we’re actually seeing things pick up in terms of confidence within the state.

“Meanwhile in South Australia, our team at AnyBusiness gets lots of feedback from business brokers that businesses are selling before they are even marketed, so there’s not a lot of businesses for sale in SA compared to the other states,” Ms Tamvakologos concluded.

Activity to continue increasing as work outlooks shift

Business broker at Xcllusive Business Sales, Zoran Sarabaca, agreed with Ms Tamvakologos’s sentiments, stating that an unfounded hesitancy to sell during lockdown saw many enquiries and little listings.

However, as lockdowns in NSW, Victoria and the ACT come to an end, listings are in recovery.

“We’re seeing strong demand across the board, not just confined to any particular industry. But anything to do with liquor, or essential services more broadly, there has been considerable demand for those businesses.”

Zoran Sarabaca, Xcllusive Business Sales

“And that has continued post-lockdown. Also, online businesses – anything you can run from home or isn’t tied to one place or region, they remain popular too,” Mr Sarabaca said.

He explained that prospective buyer profiles are largely varied, as a range of people look to enter business ownership.

“There’s more private buyers than businesses, simply because there are
more people than companies, but both sectors are pretty active at the moment,” he said.

Mr Sarabaca forecasted more buyers to enter the market in the time ahead, as interest rates remain at all-time lows and trading conditions gain more normality as vaccination rates grow.

“I definitely think the so-called “Great Resignation” in 2022 will also see more people looking at business opportunities and self-employment. Everyone has a dream and after the shift in priorities and working conditions of the past 18 months, more people than ever are looking to fulfil that dream!” Mr Sarabaca concluded.

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