Uncovering Australia’s middle market [BDO Case Study]

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Today we launch the results of McCrindle's latest analysis into Australia’s dynamic mid-market, commissioned by BDO Australia.

In our research, we discovered that the mid-market is a mystery. People seem to understand what small business is and even big-business – but the middle market is less defined. To be clear, this is where the action is. These are growing businesses, dynamic, fast-moving, entrepreneurial in nature, exploring new regions and new markets, and embracing technology.

Defining the mid-market

There is a lack of clear consensus as to what counts as the ‘middle’ and how to define the ‘market’. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), for example, defines medium sized businesses as those who employ between 20 and 200 employees. Based on employment size, there are 51,024 medium sized businesses in Australia, and these medium sized businesses account for just 2% of the 2.2 million businesses recorded by the ABS.

For the purpose of the research, we define the Australian middle market as businesses with an annual turnover between $10 million and $250 million. This definition is based on data used by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Their definitions divide Australian businesses into seven size categories that range from ‘loss’ on the lowest end of the spectrum to ‘very large’ on the highest end. Businesses earning between $10 million and $250 million are defined as being ‘medium to large’ in size. Businesses in this category contribute close to one fifth of net tax (18% - almost $13b to the Australian economy, and produce nearly a quarter of Australia’s total revenue (23%; $645bn).

It is clearly a misunderstood space – so at McCrindle we have assisted BDO with the data to better understand the mid-market, and spoken with senior executives from mid-market companies to understand the challenges they face in the current business landscape.

Opportunities for the mid-market

Leaders in the mid-market face opportunities and challenges uniquely connected to their business size.

In a changing economic market, middle market players have the advantage of being nimble and agile, not subject to hierarchal structures in the way larger companies are. They are strongly focused on innovation. For leaders in the middle market, innovation has moved away from just being about the product to the systems and processes through which the product reaches the consumer. Business leaders see technology as a key way to adapt in a world of digitalisation, particularly internal technological innovations. They also recognise the challenge of securing suitably skilled talent to continue to drive growth in their businesses.

To read further, access the full report here.

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