Lockdown has been difficult for business

We know lockdown has been difficult for business, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are five businesses that are booming (and they are not all huge). Find out how lockdown has been difficult for business, take a look at a recent BBC news article about five businesses that are booming despite the lockdown.

Yet in many ways, our current situation is very different to a month ago. Many of us have lost jobs, taken pay cuts or been put on furlough. Boris Johnson has declared the UK past its peak of the outbreak. We can buy toilet roll from the supermarket (albeit after queuing behind people in masks).

Five industries thriving in lockdown

Lockdown has been difficult for businessGifts & Occasions
Mother’s Day was the first weekend under lockdown, order volumes and referrals in the sector soared by 122% and 229% year-on-year respectively. Once the occasion passed, orders began to decline, dropping to just +26% year-on-year. Then Easter arrived. In the week running up to 12th April, order volumes and referrals in the gifting sector significantly increased. By Easter Monday, gift brands were acquiring 415% more new customers via referral year-on-year. (It’s worth noting that Easter fell on different dates last year).

Since Easter, order volumes and referrals in the gift sector have continued to increase and show no signs of slowing. Right now, order volumes are up 245% year-on-year and referrals up 650%.

That means people are buying from and recommending gifting brands each day than they were during Easter, an actual occasion, last year. It seems that in the absence of being able to physically see friends and family, consumers are turning to ecommerce gift brands to send their love from afar.



Home & Garden
At the start of April, order volumes and referrals for home and garden clients were up 55% and 83% year-on-year respectively. Both have significantly increased since.

As people looked forward to a sunshine-filled Easter at home, they went online to buy plants, baking equipment, and other products to liven up the long weekend in isolation.

On 21st April, referrals peaked at +321% year-on-year, compared to sales at +120%. Both now remain relatively steady at +278% and +110% respectively.

In the current environment, our homes and garden frequently come up in conversation. A comment on a houseplant in the background of a Zoom call, a chat about blooming tulips in the garden, a freshly baked banana bread on Instagram – all these small occurrences lead to brand recommendations and new customers.


Lockdown has been difficult for businessHealth & Fitness
In the week following the government’s lockdown announcement, order volumes for health and fitness brands increased by 163% year-on-year. People weren’t just working out in new ways – they were telling others about it, too. Referrals increased by 361%.

Fast forward to now, and orders for health and fitness brands have dropped, though remain significantly higher than this time last year. Order volumes for our clients in this sector are up 85% year-on-year. Referrals are more than double that at +185% year on year.

Consumers also feel less panicked. We may be no closer to knowing when we can next go to the pub, but we know we can go for a jog outside. Plus, with all holiday plans ruled out for the foreseeable, exercise has become more about feeling good than honing the perfect bikini body. How we’re exercising has changed, but our inclination to tell others about it hasn’t.




Food & Drink
March saw a huge spike in demand for food and drink brands as consumers stocked up on pasta, gin and other essentials.

A few months on, sales and referrals in this sector are decreasing, though remain significantly higher than last year. This is likely due to two reasons.

Firstly, consumers have more confidence in supermarket supply chains and government restrictions to know there’s little risk of going hungry. Secondly, many people ordered enough food and drink to last weeks, meaning they don’t need to order again so quickly.

That’s also impacted referrals. With people no longer panicking about running out of fresh veg or (worse) wine, they’re not talking about it as much. And when they do talk about it, they’ve likely already recommended their favourite brands to friends. Nonetheless, things are pretty good for online food and drink brands right now.



Lockdown has been difficult for businessBeauty
Beauty products weren’t top of consumers’ shopping lists entering lockdown, but they’ve certainly risen up it over the past month.

With more time on our hands, many people are turning their attention to skincare rituals and self-care treats. A bubble bath and facemask are a pretty appealing. As the option for a night out is off the cards.

We are not showing off our newly glowing skin or glossy hair in person. However, we’re still telling our friends about our favourite beauty brands.

At the start of April, beauty sales had increased by 37% year-on-year and referrals by 64%. Sales are now up 110% year-on-year, with referrals a significant 356% higher than this time last year.



Business planning for the future

Lockdown has been difficult for business as people are continuing to shop online as well as speaking with their loved ones. That presents a powerful opportunity for brands with a relevant offering and effective referral programme.

The fragile economy is also making people increasingly conscious of how they’re spending their money. A brand that comes with a friend’s seal of approval is far more likely to result in a purchase. Compared to a random website found online – particularly if it comes with a discount or other incentive.

Rather than simply enjoy the surge in orders and referrals, now is the time for thriving businesses to plan for the future. Those with effective retention strategies will prosper long-term; those without will fall by the wayside.

Obviously, LIS can’t help with the development of your business, but that is fine as that is your area of expertise! Tech is our job so contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss  how your IT needs to evolve to help drive your business in the post corona world. Whether you need to keep your data secure, deliver long term working from home, create a safe hot desking environment, make best use of a flexible phone system or just give your staff the “looked after” feeling that LIS brings to its clients, we can help. We will give you the best advice, suggest the best solutions and are more than happy to help.

Hopefully your business has survived this tough period and you are now starting on the long road to the new stable business life. Lockdown has been difficult for business but with LIS at least the IT is sorted!

#LockdownBoom #GoodForBusiness #InDemand

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