Research Order Here

SME Survey is the original representative survey of SMEs in South Africa.

Definition of an SME

The definition of an SME used by World Wide Worx is based on the National Small Business Act 1996, as amended in 2004, which stipulates varying definitions for each industry sector, including number of employees, turnover, and value of assets (see below).

For each sector, the definitions differ, except in the case of number of employees, where all sectors except Agricultural have an SME size-limit of 200 employees (in Agriculture it is 100). A Small enterprise is generally defined as having up to 50 employees, and a Medium enterprise from 51 to 200. Companies with up to 20 staff are defined as Very Small enterprises. Consequently, size bands used by World Wide Worx are designed to allow users of its research to assess the difference in responses between Very Small, Small and Medium enterprises. We also further split up the size levels to give a clearer picture of changes in response within officially-defined size groups.


The selected sample is contacted by telephone to:

  • establish the appropriate decision-maker to be interviewed;
  • establish the willingness of the decision-maker to participate in the survey; and
  • to filter out those who do not match the research definition.

Following this, the respondents are interviewed by telephone.

All questions are range-based (i.e. 1-10, 11-20, etc.), scale based (i.e. select one on a scale from 1 to 5), Yes/No questions, or multiple choice questions, a structure that allows for full statistical analysis, and the use of statistical modelling techniques when necessary.

The ideal minimum sample size is 1,400 respondents, which would provide a 98% confidence level that the margin of error for the overall sample is no more than 2%.

If required by the sponsors, the sample can be sub-divided in order to reach specific demographic segments or groupings of businesses.

Obtaining the Latest SME Survey Report

The SME Survey 2018 report is selling for R19,000.00 ex VAT and will be published in May 2018.

To place an order, please e-mail Debbie Whittaker the following details: company name, VAT number, registration number, address, telephone number, email address of the person to whom the report must be sent.

An invoice will be issued, and the report sent as a PDF upon receipt of payment.

For research related queries, please contact Arthur Goldstuck