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Coronavirus: March 2021 - The Impacts on Business

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In March, the DMA conducted its latest research into the key concerns and impacts coronavirus is having on the data and marketing industry. This eighth phase of the survey first fielded in March 2020 reveals some positivity, but also a potentially long road to fully recover from the challenges of the last 12 months.

The figures for March 2021 show 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% – which is also a drop from the one in four (25%) feeling this way in November 2020. Also, 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 are reflected in the estimates of revenue decline amid the pandemic, which has improved from a low of being down almost half (-47.2%) in May 2020 to a fall of just under a quarter in March 2021 (-24.0%). Looking forward to the revenue growth businesses are forecasting for the next 12 months there is also hope for modest growth (+5.9%) and for businesses to recruit new data and marketing roles too (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 underway across the UK too, 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 business.

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.”

Combemale adds: “Many in our industry will remain working remotely for much of the summer. We would encourage more individuals and organisations to see this as an opportunity to develop too, to ensure they have the necessary skills to better market and serve customers today and tomorrow. We continue to offer a full range of data and marketing development opportunities, available via our virtual classrooms while face-to-face sessions are still not available.”

Full results of the survey are available to download here:

Coronavirus: March 2021 – The Impacts on Business

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