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Businesses anticipate 40% drop in sales for next 3 months, survey finds

NEW YORK — The Institute of Business Forecasting (IBF) reports that a majority of U.S. companies are planning for a 40% decrease in sales over the next three months due to the impact of coronavirus.

According to a survey of business leaders conducted by IBF, businesses have never seen such a rapid downturn. As COVID-19 spreads globally, they are dealing with the combined threats of a drastic drop in demand, unprecedented supply chain disruption and shifts in consumer spending habits.

Eric Wilson, director of Thought Leadership at IBF said, “Companies have lost a lot of sales due to COVID-19 and initially there was a sense that demand would return once things stabilize – they’re now realizing that may not be the case. Companies are now bracing for the new ‘normal’.”

In a recent series of virtual townhalls focused on supply chain and demand forecasting, IBF hosted senior leaders from Medtronic, Lenovo, WD-40, and others, as well as leading academics, to answer questions from people in the business community. IBF polled the thousands of town hall participants and 52% of respondents plan to reduce their current forecasts by 25% to 40% over the next three months.

Wilson commented, “We cannot predict a pandemic, but we can anticipate consumer behavior during and after such an event with good tools, data and skilled business forecasting professionals. Companies have begun to look at the data, factoring in the longer-term impact of businesses closing permanently and consumers changing their buying habits — and the outlook is bleak.

“With forecasts now reflecting this new reality, companies will have no choice but to take measures to reduce costs which could include even more layoffs.”

IBF’s next live virtual town hall is on Thursday, April 23. Registration is available at www.ibf.org.