Voice of the Industry: Signs of a Rebound in Business Operations and Revenue

Throughout 2020, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been a major challenge for businesses worldwide, spurring fast-paced decisions to relocate work environments and quickly evaluate and shift supply chains. Across industries, professionals agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an extreme impact on business operations. During the pandemic peak in April 2020, 89% of respondents in Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry COVID-19 survey stated that their company experienced an extensive or moderate impact on current business operations. After more than six months, 80% of companies in October were still experiencing an impact on global operations, though there are signs of a slow rebound.

To explore the impact of COVID-19 on companies around the world, Euromonitor has conducted a three-wave survey of industry professionals in April, July, and October 2020. This Voice of the Industry survey series includes over 4,800 professionals in more than 70 countries and 18 industries.

Impact of COVID-19 on current operations

Source: Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry COVID-19 survey, fielded April/July/October 2020. October N=2193 July N=1181 April N=4011

Reversal in retail sales downturn

In addition to disruption in operations, companies across industries and geographies have also experienced sales declines driven by COVID-19. Retailers were some of the hardest hit in the beginning of the pandemic, with 21% of retail professionals citing a same-store sales decrease of 80-100% in April 2020, relative to April 2019.  The outlook had improved in July, with only 2% of retail professionals indicating that same-store sales decreased by 80-100% in July 2020, relative to July 2019. 24% of retail professionals reported an increase of up to 10% in same-store sales in August 2020, relative to August 2019.

Store sales in 2020 vs. 2019

Source: Euromonitor International COVID-19 Voice of the Industry Survey, October / April / July 2020. Shown to respondents working in the retailing industry; Same-store Sales refers to sales figures comparing individual stores year-over-year for the same timeframe. October N=90 July N=53 April N=79

As virus cases continue to rise across the globe, many industries expect that the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to decreased revenue growth in the short-term, though the impact is less clear when looking at long-term effects. In April, companies in the travel, leisure, automotive, and personal apparel industries seem to have suffered most, with over 60% of professionals reporting a decrease in sales compared to 2019. By October the outlook had improved somewhat; 26% of professionals indicated that they expect business demand to be higher than in 2019.

 Source: Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry COVID-19 survey, fielded April/July/October 2020. October N= 3374 July N=1758 April N=3505

Businesses seek to prevent future shocks

How to prevent future business disruptionThroughout 2020, companies around the world have started to implement measures to guard against a similar global pandemic in the future. Close to half of surveyed professionals agreed that the best practice going forward will be to conduct global economic scenario planning and forecast potential market impacts (46%). Voice of the Industry results from April and October also highlight that companies are seeking alternative logistics options and not ruling out possible channel shifts (50%). Among other steps, October results show that investment in supply chain flexibility and risk mitigation (52%) is anticipated to continue in the post-COVID period.

Source: Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry COVID-19 survey, fielded April/July/October 2020

For further insights on our Voice of the Industry: Coronavirus 2020 watch our free webinar: Voice of the Industry: Coronavirus Impact on Companies, Employees and Consumers