Distributor Pandemic Index Holds in Low Growth

The two newest indexes indicate that the three straight weeks of high readings between late December and early January were largely holiday-driven.

Warehouse Widea
Mike Hockett/Industrial Distribution

When Indian River Consulting Group's Distributor Pandemic Revenue Index (PRI) checked in with a reading of 18.4 for the week of Jan. 4-8 — its third straight reading of at least 18.0 percent — it appeared as if the PRI may have found a new and vastly improved normal compared the previous couple of months. And even if those high readings were partly driven by the timing of the holidays, it seemed there was a good chance the PRI would remain elevated.

That has not turned out to be the case.

The two newest readings of the PRI — aimed to provide a weekly snapshot of how industrial distributors' sales have fared during the pandemic compared to a year earlier — have shown that the aforementioned three-week stretch was indeed more of a holiday-induced aberration than a new normal. The newest reading, covering the selling week of Jan. 18-22, was at 3.9 percent, meaning that for the 12 distributor firms surveyed, their average sales for that week were up 3.9 percent year-over-year. It followed a reading of 4.2 for the week of Jan. 11-15.

These past two readings much more closely resemble the low- to mid-single-digit marks that the PRI maintained from mid-September through mid-December.

Of the newest indexes' 12 firms surveyed, seven respondents reported year-over-year increases, with a range of mid-single digits to above 50 percent. Of the five distributors that saw declines, their range was from 1 to 36 percent.

IRCG would like to increase the sample size for the PRI, so if you would like to include your company, reach out to IRCG partner Mike Emerson at memerson@ircg.com.

The chart below shows the weekly percent change in year-over-year sales, unadjusted for holiday impacts:

Ircg Pandemic Revenue Index Jan 18 22 2021

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