As Coronavirus takes a toll on international and local economies, YouGov conducted a survey among 220 working professionals belonging to the senior management in various companies (senior business managers and above) between 9th- 15th March to understand the effect of the pandemic on their business and the overall economy.
Four in five (79%) of the surveyed business experts claimed the Coronavirus had a huge or average impact on their business. 13% stated the effect was minor and only 6% claimed to have no effect at all. Working residents within the income bracket of AED 20,001- 40,000 were more likely to feel the effect as compared to other income-group experts.
Among the top ways in which the outbreak has affected their business was cancellation or postponement of business trips or external appointments, as stated by 47% of the respondents. Almost many claimed 43% to add hygiene measure and supplies in the company.
Many mentioned there was a drop in sales (42%) and sensed insecurity and safety concerns among workforce (42%). Roughly a quarter stated they were facing HR-related issues such as- increased work from home (29%) and rise in employee sick leaves (24%). Another quarter (25%) was facing interruptions to the supply chain. One in five reported restricted operating hours (20%) and almost as many suffered office or store closures (18).
On a slightly positive note, 7% mentioned they witnessed increase in sales as a result of this outbreak.
The data states further disruption on the horizon with four in five respondents (80%) saying the virus is very likely or fairly likely to create an impact in their business in the future. Those aged 45+ were much more likely to say this as compared to their younger counterparts (89% saying this). One in six (17%) of all respondents, however, feel it’s not likely or not very likely to have a future impact on their business.
Although in the course of the survey, cancelled/ delayed business trips or appointments emerged as the biggest visible impact of the virus (stated by 47%), declining sales is the greatest commercial woe foreseen by people in the future. A considerably higher proportion (48%) is expecting to see decline in sales in the future compared to those already seeing such a drop.
One in three feel there will be a challenge in communicating with foreign partners (32%) and just as many anticipate further interruptions to the supply chain (30%).
A slightly higher proportion than the ones who stated this now believes there will be restricted operating hours (23%) and office or store closures (20%).
There are few (10%) who look at this as a possibility and feel there will be increase in sales in the future.
Not only do UAE experts see a gloomy future for their businesses but most of them (88%) feel the Coronavirus will have a huge to average impact on the country’s overall economy. One in ten (10%) however, reckon the impact will be minor or none at all.
YouGov will continue tracking the impact of the virus on the business community and release new data next week.