The figures are contained in Zurich’s SME Risk Index for Quarter 4 of last year, in which YouGov questioned decision makers at more than 500 businesses.

High street retailers are among the most concerned with 21% of business owners believing they are at risk of going under. That figure rose from 12% in Quarter 3 of last year.

IT and telecoms related firms are feeling under even more pressure.  Almost a quarter (24%) of SME business owners in these sectors admitted they were worried about staying afloat. That figure more than doubled from 11% in the previous quarter.

SME owners in the construction industry are the most concerned about what the future holds. A worrying 37% believe they are in danger of going out of business. That was 33% higher than in the previous quarter.

A total of 82% of SME owners surveyed said that they don’t believe the economic climate will improve in the near future

Many believe their best chance of survival is to increase market share. The survey revealed that “expansion of the business in the UK” was a priority for 29% of SME owners.

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