Coronavirus: DMA reveals only 1 in 4 businesses confident they can last 6 months

Today the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) reveal the results of its first Coronavirus Survey, highlighting the key concerns, challenges and needs of businesses during this unprecedented time.

Findings show that many businesses are not confident that they will survive the economic impact of the lockdown. The DMA is calling for the Chancellor to address key concerns, extend the job retention scheme to six months and ensure businesses have additional support on business rates and CBILS.

Organisations already estimate that they’re operating at just over half ‘Business as usual’ (53.6%), with just 25% confident they can last longer than six months at the current level. One in five (22%) businesses believe they can continue to operate at current levels for less than three months, rising by another one in five (18%) for six months – with a third (34%) unsure how long they can continue.

“It’s clear from these results that many businesses in our community have already seen a dramatic reduction in revenue, as many companies across the economy will have in recent weeks. The unprecedented government response has been welcomed by our members, who are taking full advantage of the support provided,” said Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA.

“The DMA has already taken action on some of the key concerns for our industry to help safeguard the future of their businesses. Earlier this week, we called for urgent reform of the CBILS to remove personal guarantees and ensure easier access to these vital funds, which government listened to and we expect adoption rates of this to continue to increase over the coming weeks.”

Nearly two-thirds of businesses are looking to government schemes for help (63% definitely/ likely applying for at least one), with deferring VAT payments (54%), the job retention scheme (46%) and time to pay service (40%) the most common.

Encouragingly, most staff feel they have the technology they need to make working from home both easy (94%) and productive (93%), as well as having confidence in their business leadership (86%) and that they’re putting the health of staff first (92%).

Calling on Government

Combemale continues: “Ahead of the Chancellor’s speech later today, there’s still much more to be done to secure the future of the small and medium-sized businesses throughout the UK. To support the data and marketing industry, the DMA is calling for an immediate extension of the job retention scheme to six months, which is essential as it will take months after the lockdown is over for revenues to return to normal. Our members also require urgent relief on business rates for the offices that are completely empty while 95% of our industry is working from home.”

The majority of those surveyed (86%) expect the financial impact on their businesses of Coronavirus over the coming months to be negative, with many (52%) already seeing this impacting international trade.

Key concerns for the 86% of businesses reporting being worried about the pandemic’s impact include the cancellation or cutting-back of client work/output (61%) and the knock-on effect on the business/cashflow (46%).

For the latest advice, guidance and full details on the DMA Coronavirus Survey, visit: https://dma.org.uk/article/coronavirus-the-daily-digest