• 25 Jan 2024

The engine of the Dutch economy: learn more about the SME target audience

For many brands and advertisers, the SME target audience is of great interest. Insurers, car brands, leasing companies, office rental companies, caterers – the list of companies that depend on SMEs for their operations is endless. In this article, using insights drawn from the Dentsu CCS database, we focus on a subset of SMEs. What can we learn about people working in businesses with between two and 99 employees?

The engine of the Dutch economy: learn more about the SME target audience

The SME target audience in figures

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are widely regarded as the engine behind the Dutch economy. This is borne out by various statistics:

  • They account for 70% of jobs
  • Around 470,000 businesses
  • More than five million people are employed by SMEs
  • More than four million full-time jobs
  • Turnover in 2022: 1,231 billion euros

SMEs are currently facing some challenges. Filling job vacancies, for example: there were some 176,000 vacancies in SMEs in the autumn of 2023. There are also economic headwinds: at the beginning of October, six of the twelve economic cycle indicators were below the long-term trend. Statistics Netherlands noted that the economic situation was below the long-term average for the first time since mid-2021. Business confidence among SMEs was found to have fallen in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, SME entrepreneurs expect their sales to start rising in 2024. Small firms expect to invest less in 2024, medium-sized firms more.

SME target audience profile

Dentsu has established that 1.2 million people are working in businesses of this size. This amounts to 8% of the population of the Netherlands aged between 13 and 80, more than half of whom are in the higher income brackets. Interestingly, 46% of the group is in the 40-59 age range.

They are active people, many of whom are satisfied in their current jobs (63%, index 180 versus the average for the Netherlands). Despite this, 13% also say they are planning to change jobs – an interesting statistic for recruitment companies. The work-life balance of this target audience is something to keep a close eye on (and that is also certainly true for their employers). That is because 47% of respondents said they never have enough leisure time.

Future dreams and fun

Some 4% of employees in the SME sector dream of starting their own business (index 222 versus the average for the Netherlands). Their plans relate not only to business, but their private lives as well. When it comes to buying and doing up a house, too, this group scores above average. Many people in the SME target audience also have specific plans to buy a car or start investing.

How do those in the SME target audience enjoy themselves? Trips to theme parks, for example, or the theatre. They also like working on motor vehicles and enjoy riding their motorbikes and doing DIY (index 125 versus the average for the Netherlands).

Media preferences of the SME target audience

The SME target audience enjoys listening to the radio and does so a lot. Three out of ten radio listeners in the SME target audience do this every day! BNR Nieuwsradio is rated highly among the SME target audience. 9% of all SME target audience individuals listen to BNR (index 134 versus the average for the Netherlands). The FD also performs outstandingly among this group. With an index of 135, the FD not only reaches above-average numbers of SME target audience members, but is also by far the most popular national daily.

If you would like to learn more about the SME target audience, download our infographic here!


Sources: Staat van het MKB (Statistics Netherlands, MKB-Nederland, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate), Dentsu CCS data

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