Half of region’s tech firms now doing better than in pre-Covid times, survey reveals

August 2, 2021

The South West’s tech businesses have bounced back strongly from the pandemic, according to a new survey, with more than half saying they are now performing better than their pre-Covid levels.

Some 96% of tech firm leaders, including founders and directors, said they were optimistic about the future with high levels of confidence for the second half of 2021, while 95% said their business was at least as healthy as it was pre-pandemic.  

Just under half (49%) reported stronger sales than their pre-Covid levels and 53% said their business was doing better than before the Covid-19 crisis in marked contrast to many other sectors, particularly hospitality and high street retail, which have struggled over the past 15 months.

The upbeat picture emerges from a survey of 300-plus leaders of small and medium-sized tech businesses across the region commissioned by Bristol-based Antidote Communications in conjunction with South West tech sector group TechSpark.

The results revealed a sector that has demonstrated resilient throughout the pandemic and emerged stronger and with clear potential for growth.

The survey results also showed that 63% of the region’s tech firms are 100% digital and nearly a third have SaaS (software as a service) products or services. 

Fintech and deep tech are the most prevalent sub-sectors in the South West, accounting for 17% and 14% respectively of the representative sample.

However, the region boasts a diversity of tech, ranging from gaming to AI and martech to robotics -testament to the strength in depth of its cluster, according to the survey organisers.

Antidote Communications managing director Patrick Fraser said: “These findings highlight a tremendous degree of confidence throughout the South West’s digital economy and indicate that the next 12 months may be the most fruitful yet for the region’s tech sector.

“The pandemic certainly presented challenges, but the tech cluster is now looking more robust than ever. It’s an exciting time for the entire region as this growth looks set to translate into more jobs, prosperity and innovation across the Southwest.”

TechSPARK UK managing director Ben Shorrock  added: “Tech has become central to everyone’s lives during the last 18 months.

“Although there have been many challenges, it’s heartening to see that organisations in the community are flourishing and will be creating more jobs, growth and opportunities across the South West.”

The research was conducted by TechSpark with the 307 tech leaders participating spread between founders/owners (104), C-suites (109) and directors (94). The survey was conducted online between July 5 and 22.

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