Member Insights: Week 6 Pulse Survey Results on Impact of COVID-19

BY Sarah Jilbert and Brandin Bursa
5/19/2020 - COVID-19

We sent our sixth Weekly Pulse Survey to distributors and manufacturers on Friday, May 15th, to see a snapshot of the industry and how it’s changing week by week, in response to COVID-19.

Note that these results are not statistically significant but provide a general “pulse” of where the industry sits. 

The Weekly Pulse is a complement to our scientifically significant Monthly Sales TRENDS Reports.  Please contact Sarah if you’re interested in learning more about this report.

Distributor Snapshot (82 respondents):

Weekly Sales:

  • 29% of respondents reported their sales were down less than 20% compared to last week
  • 18% of respondents reported their sales were down 21-50% compared to last week
  • 0% of respondents reported their sales were down more than 50% compared to last week
  • 15% of respondents reported their sales were steady compared to last week
  • 17% of respondents reported their sales increased less than 10% compared to last week
  • 21% of respondents reported their sales increased more than 10% compared to last week

The table below shows how sales, compared to the prior week, have changed over the past five weeks. The week of 4/13 we had 8% of respondents see an increase in sales and now the week of 5/11 we see 38% of respondents indicate an increase in sales.

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Weekly Employment Changes:

  • 74% reported no employment changes this week
  • 0% have reduced employee compensation compared to 1% last week
  • 5% have reduced employees hours compared to 11% last week
  • 0% have laid off employees compared to 1% last week
  • 1% have furloughed employees compared to 3% last week
  • 9% have rehired employees compared to 6% last week
  • 16% have hired new employees compared to 9% last week

The table below shows how weekly employment changes have been trending since Week 1 of the Pulse Survey. The percentage of participants hiring new employees has gone down from 8% in Week 1 to 16% in Week 5.

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Customers:

  • 60% of respondents stated that none of their customers have gone out of business. 19% responded that less than 5% of their customers have gone out of business and 21% claimed it’s too early to tell.
  • 59% of respondents have seen no recognizable change to customers paying performance this week. 35% have less than 15% of their customers extending payment schedules compared to 34% last week. About 6% responded that more than 15% of their customers are extending payment schedules, which is up from 4% last week.
  • 32% of respondents currently have their sales team visiting customers in person while 68% of respondents are not allowing their sales team to visit customers in person.
  • On average, 35% of respondent’s sales are going through their counter opposed to other means (curbside pickup and delivery). Individual’s answers ranged from 0% to 100%.

Suppliers:

  • 65% of respondents indicated they have not experienced supply chain disruptions this week while 11% experienced parts disruptions (compared to 18% last week) and 26% experienced equipment disruptions (compared to 25% last week).

Overall Business Index:

A new question was added this week about how well distributor’s business is faring overall, 1 being out of business and 10 being back to normal/pre-COVID. The average number for all respondents was 7. The average number for the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions was 6. The average number for the Central and Great Lakes regions was 7. The average number for the Southeastern, Southwest and Western region was 8.

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Supplier Snapshot (30 respondents):

Weekly Sales:

  • 20% of respondents reported their sales were down less than 20% compared to last week
  • 13% of respondents reported their sales were down 21-50% compared to last week
  • 0% of respondents reported their sales were down more than 50% compared to last week
  • 20% of respondents reported their sales were steady compared to last week
  • 30% of respondents reported their sales increased less than 10% compared to last week
  • 17% of respondents reported their sales increased more than 10% compared to last week

The table below shows how sales, compared to the prior week, have changed over the course of the Pulse Survey. The week of 4/13 we had 6% of respondents see an increase in sales and now the week of 5/11 we see 47% of respondents indicate an increase in sales.

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Weekly Employment Changes:

  • 83% reported no employment changes this week
  • 7% have reduced employee compensation compared to 9% last week
  • 3% have reduced employees hours compared to 23% last week
  • 3% have laid off employees compared to 9% last week
  • 7% have furloughed employees compared to 13% last week
  • 0% rehired new employees compared to 13% last week
  • 7% have hired new employees compared to 9% last week

Customers:

  • 90% of respondents expect no issues meeting orders placed by distributors. 3% expect challenges meeting parts orders (compared to 9% last week) and 3% expect challenges meeting equipment orders (compared to 0% last week).

Production Facilities:

For the second consecutive week, there were ZERO production facility closures due to COVID-19. We are seeing multiple areas of positive feedback with sales up, high confidence in meeting customer orders and no production closures.

Optimism Index:

Want more good news? Our Optimism Index shot up 10 points this week to its highest mark of 78!

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Overall Business Index:

HARDI added a new question this week about how business overall is faring, which 1 being out of business and 10 being normal/pre-COVID. The average response by suppliers was 7.

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For questions about Pulse, or to join HARDI to participate in Pulse or the Monthly Sales TRENDS Reports contact: 

Wholesaler Account Manager, Sarah Jilbert at sjilbert@hardinet.org.
Supplier Account Manager, Brandin Bursa at bbursa@hardinet.org.