Figures on SMEs: survival rates and business closures

Establishing a company also involves running the risk of failure. After a few years, some entrepreneurs are forced to shut down.

According to the FSO Business demography statistics, the average survival rate of new businesses in Switzerland is 84.4% after a year of existence. Thus, nearly 33'918 companies created ‘ex-nihilo’ in 2020 were still active in 2021.

If we look at companies founded in 2020, the survival chances at one year are slightly higher in the secondary sector, at 85,7%, compared to 84,1% in the tertiary sector. After two years of existence (2019 cohort), businesses in the tertiary sector show a survival rate of 70.1%, compared to 73.1% for the secondary sector. After three years of existence, the trend remains similar, at 61.5% in the tertiary sector and 65% in the secondary sector. After five years of existence, these figures increase to 50.1% in the tertiary sector and 50% in the secondary sector.

FSO, Statistics on business demography 2016-2021 (next publication: December 2024)


In 2023, approximately 10,000 companies underwent bankruptcy proceedings. At the same time, publications due to over-indebtedness increased by 8% (544 companies) to reach a record figure of 7,335 companies.


Last modification 07.03.2024

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