Indian River Consulting Group's weekly Distributor Pandemic Revenue Index (PRI) has settled into a much less volatile period over the past month compared to the height of COVID-19's impact on US manufacturers, and continues to make positive gains, albeit small ones.
The latest PRI recorded its third-straight week-to-week increase, showing a 1.5 percentage point increase for the week of Aug. 24-28 to a mark of +2.6 percent. That means for the 12 distributors surveyed, their average sales for that week were up 1.5 percentage points year-over-year. It was the index's highest mark since a +4.5 percent reading for the week of March 9-13, just before widespread business and factory shutdowns were enacted across North America.
The modest increase followed readings of +1.1, +0.5, -0.7 and +1.3 over the past four weeks, respectively — far better than the negative mid-single digits the PRI recorded throughout most of June and July; negative teens throughout most of April and May.
"Over the last few months, a pattern has emerged that the week containing the last business day of the month shows an uptick, but the week preceding it is usually pretty weak," IRCG partner Mike Emerson noted. "Hopefully, with the last day of the month coming next week, the growth trend strengthens."
Emerson added that five of the index's 12 distributor participants saw a year-over-year sales gain for the week of Aug. 24-28, with the gains ranging from 3.2 to 38 percent, while the seven decreases ranged from -1 to -30 percent.
"Let this wide variation be a reminder that although the index is trending positive, there is a lot of volatility within it," Emerson said.
IRCG would like to increase the sample size for the PRI, so if you would like to include your company, reach out to Emerson, at email@example.com.
The chart below shows the percent change in sales in 2020 compared with the same week in 2019.