Industry Impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The impacts of coronavirus and COVID-19 continue to be felt differently across various industries. During resulting quarantines, some industries have seen a rise in demand and a push to be deemed “essential” for local, state, and national governments, while other industries have experienced a decline in demand or have struggled to survive numerous shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders.

As our research team continues to update our industry reports based on individual industries’ felt impacts, we are offering the content below for free. Industry information is updated regularly, so check back often for the latest.

How Specific Industries Are Affected

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November 5, 2020 

  • About  62% of respondents to a Digital Commerce 360 survey of 118 online retailers conducted from July through September 2020 said that they would make email a bigger part of their holiday marketing budgets this year. Other highly cited channels were social media (57%), content marketing (51%) and search engine ads (50%).
  • Advertising executives surveyed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) expect spending on digital advertising to grow 6% this year. Paid search is expected to be the fastest-growing digital category, with a 26% estimated gain, followed by social media (25%), connected TV (19%), digital video (18%) and digital display (15%). Spending on digital out-of-home advertising is expected to decline 43%, while spending on podcasts may decline 8% and spending on digital audio may decline 5%.
  • Total advertising spending is expected to decline 8% in 2020. Spending on traditional media that includes linear TV, out-of-home, standard radio, print, and direct mail is expected to decline 30%.
  • Media buyers who have a “very clear” or “somewhat clear” idea of their 2021 budgets said that their ad spending will increase 5.3% in 2021. Only 30% of advertising executives have a clear idea of their budgets, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, leaving 70% with vague or nonexistent estimates for 2021.
  • US advertising marketplace growth slowed to 2.7% year over year in September from 5.9% in August, according to a a MediaPost analysis of Standard Media Index’s US Ad Market Tracker. September’s ad growth came primarily from the largest advertisers, with the top 10 ad categories expanding 2.9% while all others declined 3.7%. It also represents a continuing expansion of digital media spending versus traditional: Digital media advertising rose 20.6% while the national TV ad marketplace declined 1% in September.

November 5, 2020 

  • China has purchased over $23 billion in agricultural products, approximately 71% of its 2020 target under the Phase One trade agreement signed in January, according to a report released on October 23 by the Office of the US Trade Representative. Sales of corn to China are at an all-time high of 8.7 million tons.
  • Agricultural chemical manufacturers may be negatively impacted by what US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has called the abandonment by Europe of high-yielding agriculture. Purdue cited the European Union’s (EU) Farm to Fork Strategy, which aims to reduce nutrient runoff by using less fertilizer, as a key issue. EU agriculture commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski countered that the coronavirus pandemic “provides us with an important lesson that we need to strengthen our food security,” and noted that the EU “is opting for sustainable and environmentally friendly farming” that will preserve soil health and fertility for generations to come. The Farm to Fork Strategy, adopted by the administrative European Commission in May, would reduce the use of chemical pesticides by 50%, fertilizer use by at least 20%, and nutrient runoff by 50%. The initiative calls for organic practices on 25% of EU farmland in the next decade.
  • Chemical manufacturers are likely to be negatively impacted by farmers’ increasing liquidity problems. Declining corn prices caused in part by the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing trade disputes with China have had a significant negative impact on farm income. China was also hit by the African swine fever at about the same time as the trade dispute erupted, resulting in as much as 40-50% of its hog herd being culled, pushing down demand for grain. Net farm income would be at its lowest level since 2009 this year without government payments, according to the FAPRI think tank at the University of Missouri. Total government payments are at the highest level ever this year. Roughly one-third of net farm income could come in the form of government payments in 2020.
  • The American Chemistry Council (ACC) expects US chemical exports to decline 14.5% in 2020. Exports are projected to rebound in 2021 and grow 10.9%, a but a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels is not expected before 2022. US agricultural chemicals production is forecast to drop 9.3% this year. Agricultural chemical production decreased 4.4% year over year in April.
  • Agricultural chemical industry employment increased 3.8% year over year in August, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Major agricultural chemical manufacturers say that they have diversified their supply chains to limit exposure to future challenges linked to Chinese manufacturing disruptions. “Since we’re a global company, we have around 300 production facilities all over the world,” said Paul Rea, BASF senior vice president, agricultural solutions, North America. “We’ve been able to make our deliveries of product as expected.” “The industry, as a whole, was already looking toward how to diversify and to move away from a single-source country,” adds Jeff Cecil, head of crop protection marketing at Syngenta. “Syngenta is in a position of strength, because a lot of our production is U.S.-based. We are not looking to make major changes.”
  • US ethanol production declined 5.2% year over year for the week ended October 30, according to the Energy Information Administration. Production had stabilized by mid-August after falling to historic lows during April due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Ethanol Producer Magazine. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has lowered its forecasted demand for corn that is used to make ethanol by 7% for the 2019-2020 crop season. The 2020-2021 marketing year forecast by USDA estimates corn for ethanol demand to be 4% to 5% below a typical marketing year. Almost a third of the US corn crop is used to make ethanol and its byproducts.

November 5, 2020 

  • Raytheon Technologies, the biggest aerospace supplier by sales, will cut 15,000 staff and 4,000 contractor positions by the end of 2020. Most of the cuts will be made at the company’s Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace divisions, due to decreased commercial aerospace sales caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Boeing CEO David Calhoun said in late October that the company plans to have 130,000 employees at t