Nearly a third (32%) of companies in the UK plan to outsource their marketing departments, and half of currently operating businesses will invest in digital technologies as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
These are the findings of a study by customer experience agency LiveArea, conducted in April 2020. In partnership with research firm Opinium, 500 senior managers from UK companies were surveyed on the impact COVID-19 has had on their business.
Larger organisations with more than 250 employees were the most likely to invest in digital after the pandemic (72%), with IT infrastructure and digital commerce the highest priorities.
Almost half (46%) of those surveyed said they currently outsource part of their business, with IT and marketing the most common areas. Of those not currently outsourcing, 37% would consider outsourcing IT and a third (32%) would consider outsourcing marketing as a result of the pandemic.
Only 10% of businesses currently outsource marketing, so the number of companies outsourcing in this area may triple in the coming years. 28% of companies said they were looking to outsource in at least one area to try and reduce risk as a result of the pandemic.
53% of UK businesses have had to stop operations due to the coronavirus, and 6% of businesses have closed permanently.
Nine in 10 (90%) senior decision-makers were confident in the survival of their business if the current situation continued for the next month, however after three months this decreased to 29%.
Smaller businesses are the most at risk, with 65% not confident their companies would survive if the situation continued for six months or more.
Less than half (47%) of businesses still operating have had to furlough staff, and one in 10 (10%) have had to lay off employees.
Over half (58%) of UK businesses said due to COVID-19, their long-term business strategy would likely change. A quarter (24%) of UK businesses said they think their business will not be operating as it was before the pandemic until 2021 or later.
LiveArea’s EMEA commerce consulting director, Elliott Jacobs, said that, because of COVID-19, it is important for companies to invest in “adaptability and resilience”, which means “developing the ability to understand market changes and react instantly. Only then can brands cope and even flourish in a post Covid-19 economy”.