Distributor Pandemic Index Holds Steady, Down 15%

It appears that distributors with projects as a material part of their business are suffering the least so far.

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Mike Hockett/Industrial Distribution

Indian River Consulting Group’s (IRCG) distributor Pandemic Revenue Index (PRI) has leveled off, albeit at a considerably negative figure as the worst of the business impacts from COVID-19 on B2B wholesale distributors appears to be over.

The PRI showed marginal regression last week, registering a year-over-year sales decline of 14.90 percent, compared to 14.77 percent for the week of May 4-8 and 18.92 percent for the week of April 27-May 1. Since bottoming out at -30.48 percent during the week of April 6-10, the index has held steady between -13 to -19 percent in the subsequent five weeks. Nonetheless, last week was the index's eighth-straight week of mid-teen double-digit declines. 

The sample size for last week's PRI was 10 distributors, the same as the previous several weeks. 

"The stability in the average sales change is also present within the sample as participating companies are not displaying much volatility," wrote IRCG partner Mike Emerson. "Those that generally have the larger declines continue to have the larger declines and those that have been almost flat are continuing on that trajectory."

The largest decline in in this week's index was 38 percent year-over-year, while two companies managed an increase of 1 percent. Emerson noted that the only apparent trend in the PRI is that distributors that have projects comprise a material part of their business — such as infrastructure or multi-month construction — appear to be suffering the least of the 10 firms in the survey.

IRCG hopes to expand the sample size of the PRI. If you are interested having your distribution firm participate, reach out to Emerson at memerson@ircg.com.

The PRI was launched in late March to provide the B2B distribution space with a snapshot of how distributor revenues are doing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chart below shows the percent change in sales in 2020 compared with the same week in 2019, helping to reveal how revenue declines may have driven by uncontrollable forces, such as the current COVID-19 global disruption.

Ircg Pandemic Revenue Index May 11 15 2020

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