Chris Evans

7th May 2020


New Plimsoll survey findings show the impact of COVID-19 on UK business confidence

In the most comprehensive survey of its kind, market analysts Plimsoll have canvassed the mood of the UK’s key business leaders as we enter the 7th week of lockdown. The overwhelming sense is that while the damage COVID-19 has inflicted across the UK economy is going to be extensive, the majority expect to have the financial resource to make it to the other side, and most are desperate to protect their employees.

57% of those surveyed expected sales to fall by more than 20% in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and resulting lockdown. The collective loss to the UK GDP looks set to eclipse any event in living memory with a route out of the economic downturn still not entirely clear.

Financial Strength

Despite recent news that UK banks received around 100,000 applications in a single day when the Bounce Back loan scheme opened for small businesses, the survey found that less than a third of companies think they will need any additional financing to fund their business during lockdown. Such is the relative preparedness of UK businesses, almost two thirds of companies are not planning on making any staff redundant.  

Clearly, the longer the lockdown and disruption go on, the more companies worry about their income. More than half of the business leaders surveyed worried about bad debts. How many companies have seen payment terms stretched ever further and write offs begin to rise?

Areas of Concern

As with all economic crises there are major winners and losers. 11% of the companies surveyed indicated they are suffering a strong negative impact from COVID-19, with projections of sales falling by 20%, needing additional funding and cutting jobs as a result. Conversely, 14% of respondents have felt no impact and will continue as normal throughout the crisis. This indicates a relatively normalised distribution of businesses in the middle, who are being affected but should bounce back quickly.

Acquisition Confidence

Finally, acquisitions are still in people’s minds as the pandemic passes through. Clearly looking for bargain buys exposed by these unprecedented economic conditions, almost a third of companies are actively looking to buy a distressed competitor.

Plimsoll surveyed 1,110 business leaders across all sectors and a vast array of niche industries. Find the full details of the industries surveyed below:




Do you anticipate your sales will fall by over 20% in 2020?



Will you need to take on debt to fund the shutdown?



Do you expect to make redundancies as a result of the crisis?



Are you looking to make a quick acquisition?



Are you worried about bad debt?




Plimsoll produces more than 1600 different market reports looking at the preparedness of each individual company and the latest trends in each. To see how the markets that matter to you were prepared for COVID-19, please contact us.