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The pandemic reviewed: Industrial sector impacts

The wholesale industry has prospered post-pandemic when compared with the others

Business premises in London. Image by Tim Sandle
Business premises in London. Image by Tim Sandle

A new review assesses data on the number of businesses that were both ‘born’ and ‘died’ in the last eight business quarters after the pandemic (from Q2 of 2020 to Q1 of 2022) and compared this with the eight quarters before the pandemic (from Q2 of 2018 to Q1 of 2020) to see how each industry has been affected in the last two years. The data analysis relates to the U.K.

The study comes from a marketing training hub, called the School of Marketing, and it is based on government data.

The analysis reveals that the information and communication industry was the worst affected industry by the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, for every 100 businesses born in the industry, 91.51 businesses died. This number had increased by 89 percent post-pandemic with 173.24 business deaths for 100 new ones.

Furthermore, a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests struggles during and after the pandemic in the industry could be caused by decreased overseas consumption and reduced supply of outsourcing due to worldwide restrictions.

The research also finds that finance and insurance was the industry second-worst affected by the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, there were roughly 48.01 business deaths for every 100 births. Post-pandemic, this number had increased by 50 percent, with an average of 71.95 deaths for every 100 business births in the industry.

The accommodation and food services industry did well under the circumstances. Pre-pandemic there were 90.37 business deaths for every 100 births, and post-pandemic the number of deaths for every 100 births had dropped 10.9 percent to 80.51.

Overall, the IT industry was found to be the most affected, seeing the biggest increase in business deaths compared to births post-pandemic.

The complete analysis reveals:

IndustryNumber of business deaths, for every 100 business births pre-pandemic (Q2 2018 – Q1 2020)Number of business deaths, for every 100 business births post-pandemic (Q2 2020 – Q1 2022)Post-pandemic change (lower is better)
Accommodation and food services90.3780.51-10.90%
Motor trades94.8486.37-8.93%
Health and social care100.5394.62-5.87%
Transportation and storage78.2388.9613.72%
Real estate60.0869.2215.22%
Agriculture, forestry and fishing118.93137.3115.46%
Arts, entertainment, recreation and other services89.70108.6021.08%
Business administration and support services89.86108.8721.15%
Professional, scientific and technical activities97.60142.4145.91%
Finance and insurance48.0171.9549.86%
Information and communication91.51173.2489.31%
UK Total86.58100.6716.26%

On the positive side, the wholesale industry also prospered post-pandemic when compared with the others studied. Pre-pandemic, for every 100 wholesale businesses born, 101.5 businesses died. This result decreased by 20 percent post-pandemic, where in the last eight business quarters, only 81.44 businesses have died for every 100.

It was also found that in the eight business quarters from April 2018 up to March 2020, the UK average was that 86.58 businesses died for every 100 that were born. Post-pandemic this number had increased by 16 percent, with current figures showing that for every 100 new businesses, roughly 100.67 have died, making the average number of business births and deaths almost equal since the pandemic began.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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