The big takeaway is that business is tough, but not for all. There is concern across the board on supply chains, today and in the future but a strong sense of hope and determination from brands of all sizes.
Of 202 businesses, 56% of businesses report that their sales are going down. Interestingly, 20% report that their sales are going up.
Brands With increasing sales
How are they feeling?
These brands are generally optimistic but are very nervous about supply chain issues. They are worried that if manufacturers, fulfillment centers and shipping companies can’t keep up, they are going to struggle massively.
Not trying to taking advantage of this difficult situation but rather focusing on providing customers value through stories, insights or ideas that they can use in this new world. Sharing them through email and connecting with their followers on social is having solid engagement. Additionally, Google Ads appears to provide a more solid return than historically.
Items people need at home are selling
Of the businesses that are growing, they primarily sell Healthy & Beauty products and Food & Beverage products. Generally, this maps to what people need when they are staying home.
Web traffic is going up
Most web traffic is going up or flat and it seems that consumers are getting there less through Facebook and Instagram ads, more through direct or Google ads. This speaks to consumers potentially being intentional about their purchases. Makes sense since suddenly everyone needs to work from home and has new needs.
Inventory is facing supply chain issues
Already, almost 30% of businesses with increasing sales cannot get the inventory they need. We’re not sure why.
Ad spends are actually rising
20% of these businesses are seizing the opportunity and spending more on ads. They report that ads are as efficient or more efficient than before. We’re hearing that CPMs are way up, CPC are consistent and conversion rates are consistent. It seems like business as usual for these brands.
Brands with decreasing sales
How are they feeling?
People are nervous but hopeful that this pandemic will be short-lived and things will return to normal. There’s a real fear that the longer this lasts, the harder it will be to sustain lower sales – this could lead to laying off staff, not being able to pay bills and potentially shutting down.
Brands have found success in resetting their sales expectations and changing their focus. Investing energy in relationship building with their followers and customers by understanding that this is a difficult time for people – communicating with them honestly, earnestly and in the customer’s best interest is earning them credibility. Additionally, focusing efforts on growing an email list, including through Facebook Ads, seems to be a good strategy. This will give you a renewed and connected audience to sell to when consumer demand comes back.
Apparel & accessories and non-essential items are being hit hardest
Of the businesses where sales are decreasing, the largest category is by far Apparel & Accessories.
Web traffic is going down
There’s obviously a strong correlation between reduced web traffic and reduced sales. We’ve talked with founders who have reported as much as 30%-40% reduction in web traffic overnight, which has also corresponded to their sales.
Access to inventory is becoming an issue
Supply chain is an issue across the board. 30% report not having all the inventory they need. This could be due to Amazon shutting down fulfillment of non-essential items or manufacturers in Asia being slow.
Ads are less efficient and budgets are being slashed
Brands are reporting that ads are less efficient and it’s starting to have an impact on their ad spends. More than 50% of brands are reporting that they are reducing their spend or have cut their ad budget entirely.
Brands with flat sales
How are they feeling?
Brands with flat sales are very much in “wait and see” mode. They are most concerned with the logistics and shipping companies keeping up and what happens if they can’t. They really want to understand more about what consumers are thinking and feeling so they can communicate and connect better.
Connecting with engaged contacts on email and social is working, as a way to drive sales, build stronger relationships and stay connected.
Mix of most benefited and affected categories
Brands with flat sales tend to be made up primarily of the biggest categories of those brands that are making more (Health & Beauty) and those that are making less (Apparel & Accessories). We can guess that they are some of the weaker and stronger brands, respectively.
Web traffic remains consistent
Web traffic generally appears to be solid, staying flat or increasing.
Business as usual on the ad spend front
And for these brands, it’s very much a wait and see.