“Signs of positivity, but the road to recovery will take time” says DMA CEO

A year on from the first UK-wide lockdown, the latest results from the ‘Coronavirus – The Impact on Business’ survey series – conducted by the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) – reveals some positivity for businesses looking forward, but also a long road to fully recover from the challenges of the last 12 months.

According to the latest survey, conducted in March 2021, the majority of businesses (70%) are still being negatively impacted by the pandemic. However, those reporting the economic impact as extremely negative has almost halved – from 31% a year ago to 16%. This is also a notable decline from the one in four (25%) feeling this way in November 2020.

In addition, of those businesses being negatively affected, almost two-thirds (63%) report seeing some signs of recovery compared to earlier in the pandemic.

These early signs of recovery are reflected in the estimates of revenue decline amid the pandemic. In March 2021 businesses reported revenues are down by just under a quarter (-24.0%), a significant improvement on the low of almost half (-47.2%) reported in May 2020.

Looking forward to the next 12 months, businesses forecast modest revenue growth (+5.9%) and are also planning to recruit for new data and marketing roles (50%).

“It’s encouraging to see signs of hope returning after what’s been a year of challenges and difficult decisions. As revenues begin to return, this optimism is reflected in the financial forecasts and plans to hire new staff in the coming year,” says Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA. “However, these signs of positivity are tentative and the road to full recovery will take time.”

Amid the continued success of the vaccine roll-out and the roadmaps to reducing restrictions, businesses confidence in the UK Government has also returned somewhat. After a low of 16% in November, this has returned to 33% – its highest since May 2020. Half of those surveyed (50%) also believe the government should be doing more to support businesses.

Combemale continues: “The year ahead will have its own challenges, from conducting business post-Brexit to ensuring a data adequacy agreement is finalised, not to mention the unknown of what impact coronavirus will have. As such, we continue to lobby the Government and represent the entire data and marketing industry to ensure it has all the assistance it needs.”

For further details on the DMA Coronavirus Survey, visit:
https://dma.org.uk/research/coronavirus-march-2021-the-impacts-on-business

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