Holiday sales boost brings increased risk to small businesses

Australia’s retail and hospitality businesses are set for their biggest Christmas on record, with shoppers expected to splurge nearly $64 billion over the pre-holiday period, according to a recent report. 

While increased sales may bring relief to small business owners who have dealt with months of low Consumer Confidence and rising costs, the rise in foot traffic could bring with it more risk, warns small business expert Jane Mason.  

“The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for many small businesses. As people flood through their doors, it’s easy for small business owners to become overwhelmed and miss critical risks – especially for those still dealing with chronic labour shortages,” says Mason.  

While the labour crisis has impacted nearly every sector in Australia, shortages have been most acute in hospitality and retail, with each sector needing 102,000 and 46,000 workers, respectively.  

As Christmas fast approaches, small business owners are left with a Catch-22 situation: they desperately need skilled workers to keep up with the anticipated demand, but the available pool could be a liability in the workplace. 

“Untrained employees can be a drag on a small business at the best of times, affecting productivity and the safety of customers… but many don’t have a choice,” says Mason.  

“While it may be tough right now, there is one thing you can do – ensure your business is protected from the risks it faces this festive season and the new year ahead.”  

Jane Mason
Jane Mason, BizCover’s Head of Product, Channels and Risk

What are the risks?  

Small business owners will have to contend with an influx of customers this holiday period.  

For hospitality businesses that means hosting Christmas parties, family get-togethers and end-of-year work functions while retailers will need to prepare for hordes of customers picking out gifts.  

Both situations, combined with untrained employees, invites the possibility of an increase of accidents.  

Small business owners have a legal responsibility to ensure their staff and members of the public are safe.  

“Imagine if a customer tripped over some new Christmas merchandise and was hurt in your store. Do you have a plan in place to protect your business from the consequences of that situation?” says Mason. 

“Don’t let an unfortunate accident damage your business’ finances and reputation. Now is the time to ensure your Public Liability insurance is up to date.” 

Australians are also increasingly jumping online for their Christmas shopping, with one third indicating they bought gifts online last year, according to a Savvy survey 

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) are expecting a similar theme this Christmas while Australia Post are ramping up their efforts after delivering a record 52 million parcels between Black Friday and Christmas Day last year.  

Mason says If your business is sending out a large number of orders during Christmas time, you should also consider insurance for goods in transit 

“Loss or damage caused by collision, natural disaster, or theft in some defined events is typically included,” she says. “You can’t always prevent things from going wrong, but you can make sure you are covered.”  

“Accidents are often an inevitable part of life and can still happen no matter how much you prepare for them,” says Mason. “Protect your business today to avoid potential pain later down the road.”  


This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. © 2022 BizCover Pty Limited, all rights reserved. ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769 

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