News - 8 May 2020

The impact of the coronavirus on the retail sector – PMR research

In early April 2020, PMR conducted a short survey among its clients and partners from four sectors: Retail, Pharma/Healthcare, Construction, and IT/ICT.

The survey had a quantitative-qualitative character (standardized interviews with a purposive sample of selected companies). It was conducted with decision-makers and competent representatives of companies, of which 3/4 were CEOs or representatives in top management/director positions. In total, 109 companies were surveyed, including 35 from the Construction and IT/ICT sectors, 12 from the Pharma/Healthcare sector, and 27 from the Retail sector. The survey included representatives of manufacturers, distributors, service providers, and contractors. Representatives of both online and brick-and-mortar companies, as well as representatives of companies operating in the B2C and B2B sectors, were invited to participate. The survey was conducted using an online questionnaire and telephone interviews.


  • 52% of the surveyed companies from the Retail sector are currently operating without restrictions, adapting to the prevailing conditions. Companies in this sector more often indicate that they are limiting their activity (33%) rather than expanding it (15%) in the current crisis conditions. When restrictions occur, they are typically described as reaching up to 50% (compared to pre-crisis activity). The most problematic aspect of business for companies in this sector is a decrease in demand.
  • Approximately 40% of companies in the sector indicate limitations in sources of financing, while the majority do not report any problems in this area.
  • 11% of companies plan to hire new employees, while nearly 20% indicate that there will be some layoffs within their organizations. Remote work and the inability to work for employees ready to do so are the most common workforce issues faced by companies in this sector.
  • Nearly 60% of companies are suspending or canceling planned investments in their organizations.
  • Over 60% of companies are experiencing a general decrease in sales (40-50% decline). Furthermore, 73% of companies anticipate a similar decline in sales in the second quarter of 2020 (at a level of approximately 30-40%). 


When asked about positive consequences for the industry, representatives of companies mainly point to increased sales in the e-commerce channel and significant increases in certain product and service categories that find application and demand in the current crisis. Negative consequences for the sector mainly include potential decrease in purchasing power and changes in consumer/individual customer behavior.

Do you need more data?

In PMR, we advise and assist in the operations of your company

Agnieszka Skonieczna

Market Analysis Director