It is not a matter of if the US economy will rebound from the COVID -19 pandemic, but when and how rapidly the recovery will occur. While most companies are still dealing with the challenges brought about by the COVID -19 crisis, it’s difficult to begin thinking about developing strategic plans designed to re-energize revenue as the world emerges from the pandemic. However, to be prepared for the projected economic recovery, companies must begin their planning now, as the post-pandemic world will not be “business as usual.”
US Economic Recovery Timelines
Although many factors can impact the timing of economic recovery in the US, The Conference Board and Reuters predicted in mid-April that a fall recovery is the most likely scenario, represented by the U-shaped, gray line in the graph below.
“Government policies such as social distancing help to ‘flatten the curve’ but extend economic weakness to Q3. The recovery will be slower but more controlled than in the V-shaped orange line and W-shaped, red line scenarios, giving businesses more time to prepare for the recovery.” – The Conference Board
Based on the U-shaped recovery curve, the US would see a 33% contraction in GDP in the second quarter (on an annualized basis) and minimal growth in the third quarter. The rebound predicted in the fourth quarter would result in a 6.5% total contraction of GDP for 2020 over 2019.
The Post-Pandemic World
Depending on the market segment(s) a company operates in, there will be numerous post-pandemic changes that the organization will need to predict, consider, and prepare. For example, supply chains may need to be more robust; the competitive landscape may look dramatically different; the customer base may have added requirements and needs; the demand for various products may shift. Changes need to be identified and understood, and the potential impacts addressed in new strategies. Market research should be a top priority as companies address the transformation of business brought about by COVID-19.
Why Conduct Market Research Now?
Several reasons to initiate market research now in preparation for the economic recovery post-COVID-19 include:
- Strategies must be in place: Based on the predicted timing of the US economic rebound, your post-pandemic growth strategy must be initiated by mid-Q3 to be fully effective in Q4. Now is the time to begin the foundational market research work that will feed the strategy. Don’t miss the curve.
- Insights are more accessible: The availability of individuals typically targeted for both qualitative and quantitative research is more favorable. Customers, industry experts, and market participants have fewer meetings, limited-to-no travel, and many are working from home. Over the last month, Priority Metrics Group has had a higher response rate in scheduling interviews. Many respondents have allowed us more time, yielding more in-depth insights.
- Market consolidation is inevitable: The fallout of the pandemic will leave some companies in dire financial condition and others in a position to lead consolidation efforts. In any consolidating market, the first to the table often reap the rewards.
“Once the dust settles, companies that had to wait longer for money, or are located in parts of the country hardest hit by the pandemic, will be weaker. And that will undoubtedly give big corporations that want to get bigger the opportunity to pounce.” – businessinsider.com
Areas of Research to Consider
Reviewing business areas that showed vulnerability during the pandemic is a logical place to start. These areas may include supply chain, supplier base, and needs-based innovation. Companies will also need to gain a better understanding of the post-pandemic landscape. Conducting competitive intelligence, identifying new needs of customers, and re-assessing the served market as well as potential new markets can offer the needed insights.