Survey: Most retailers see COVID-19 crisis lasting one month or more

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Survey: Most retailers see COVID-19 crisis lasting one month or more

By Dan Berthiaume - 04/02/2020
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Only 2% of retailers expect business to go back to normal in less than one month.

According to a recent survey of retailers from Forrester and Narvar, a leading 40% of respondents expect it will take one to three months for retailer and shopper activity to return to normal from COVID-19. Another 35% expect it will take three to six months, while 15% predict it will take six to 12 months and 8% anticipate it will take 12 months or more.

Apparel retailers are more pessimistic than their industry as a whole. Larger percentages of retailers in the apparel vertical expect it will take six to 12 months (23%) or 12-plus months (8%) for the crisis to subside. Smaller cohorts expect it will take one to three months (36%) or three to six months (27%).

Not surprisingly, a number of retailers have adjusted their sales forecasts down to account for this period of virtual shutdown, 20% of them as steeply as 25% or more. Nearly half were still in the process of evaluation at the time of the survey. When looking at department stores and luxury retailers who rely heavily on physical interaction with their customers, a full 50% are lowering their forecasts by 25% or more.

Similar percentages of all retailers (18%) and department store and luxury retailers (17%) are adjusting their sales forecasts down 5-10%. Forty-three percent of all retailers and 17% of department store and luxury retailers are in consideration stage.

Seven in 10 retailers expect e-commerce to fare somewhat better (50%) or somewhat better (20%) than the rest of the business. Only 8% expect e-commerce to fare somewhat worse, and 7% expect no change.

In addition, 72% of respondents had already closed stores or reduced hours, and 42% of them had paused BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In Store) and BORIS (Buy Online, Return In Store) services.